The Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to Amazon asking the company to address the “deeply and unequivocally antisemitic” documentary and related book at the heart of the Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s suspension. The company said it was working with the A.D.L. to explore adding a disclaimer to the film.
The letter — signed by the A.D.L.’s chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, but on behalf of the Nets as well — called on Amazon to take down or add explanatory context to the film and the related book, saying they were “designed to inflame hatred and, now that it was popularized by Mr. Irving, will lead directly to the harm of Jews.” A copy of the letter was obtained by The New York Times.
Cory Shields, an Amazon spokesman, said the potential disclaimer would appear on the documentary’s main detail page, which viewers would see before buying or renting the film. A similar note potentially would be added to a page where customers could buy the book that the film is based on.
More than a week ago, Mr. Irving tweeted a link to Amazon for a documentary called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which includes “extensive antisemitism,” such as claims that Jews control the media and that millions of Jews did not die during the Holocaust.
Though he deleted the tweet, Mr. Irving was suspended by the Nets for declining to say he had no antisemitic views. He later apologized on Instagram for posting the documentary “without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.” He said he did not intend to “disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate.”
The Nets and others said his apology did not go far enough.
The four-page letter, whose existence was first noted by reporters for the Athletic, was dated Friday and addressed to Amazon’s executive chairman, Jeff Bezos; its chief executive, Andy Jassy; and David Zapolsky, Amazon’s general counsel. It details problematic content in the book and film, and discussed why it was troubling at the current moment of heightened antisemitism in the United States.
The film was self-produced by its director, Ronald Dalton Jr., in 2018, according to its listing on Amazon, and is available to rent for $12 or to buy for $50. It has more than 1,200 reviews and was made available on Amazon through its Prime Video Direct program, a self-service platform it started in 2016 to allow filmmakers and content creators to upload their works and reach the company’s millions of customers.
The company said at the time that the service, which focuses on feature-length movies and TV shows, wanted to make “it even easier for content creators to find an audience, and for that audience to find great content.”
Amazon keeps half of the purchase price or rental fees and passes on the remaining half to the content provider, according to its website for filmmakers.
Mr. Greenblatt said in a statement last week that Mr. Irving’s antics drew attention and sales to the film and its related book, making it a best seller in multiple categories on Amazon.
The company’s guidelines tell filmmakers that “all titles undergo manual and automated reviews” before it licenses them and that certain content is prohibited, such as violating a copyright or explicit sexuality. Amazon also says it prohibits “hateful content,” such as speech that contains “derogatory comments, hate speech, or threats specifically targeting any group or individuals.”
Amazon said the film did undergo review before becoming available online, though it declined to provide details of the review and how it concluded that the film did not violate the prohibition on hate speech.
The self-service distribution is similar to the self-publishing model Amazon developed for books, which allowed it to vastly expand its offerings without negotiating with publishers. Amazon has long been hesitant to remove sensitive or controversial books, though in recent years, it has updated its policy to allow itself the discretion to remove “offensive” content. “As a bookseller, we believe that providing access to the written word is important, including content that may be considered objectionable,” its policy states.
Sopan Deb contributed reporting.