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Virgin Galactic says that remarks by its chairman Chamath Palihapitiya that ‘nobody cares’ about the Uyghur genocide ‘do not reflect’ the company’s views

Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO of Social Capital, presents during the 2018 Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., April 23, 2018.

Reuters/Brendan McDermid

  • Chamath Palihapitiya said on a recent podcast “nobody cares” about China’s Uyghur genocide.
  • Virgin Galactic, where he is chairman, told The New York Post his remarks “do not reflect” the company’s views.
  • The Golden State Warriors, of which Palihapitiya owns a minority stake, also distanced itself from his comments.

Virgin Galactic has spoken out disavowing recent remarks from its chairman, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, saying he didn’t care about the Uyghur genocide in China.

In a statement Tuesday, a company spokesperson told Insider, “Virgin Galactic believes that every human being is entitled to fundamental human rights. Chamath Palihapitiya’s comments do not reflect the views of Virgin Galactic and he does not speak on behalf of the company.”

The New York Post previously reported Virgin Galactic’s response to Palihapitiya’s remarks.

Palihapitiya said on a recent episode of the “All-In” podcast, which he co-hosts, that “nobody cares about what’s happening” to Uyghur Muslims in the country.

“You bring it up because you really care, and I think that’s nice that you care; the rest of us don’t care,” Palihapitiya said while discussing human rights with his co-hosts. “I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

“If you’re asking me, do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us,” he added.

Human Rights Watch has estimated China is arbitrarily detaining as many as 1 million Uyghurs, an ethnic minority group whose people are predominantly Muslim, in the region of Xinjiang. In a report last year, the human rights organization said China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang amounted to “crimes against humanity” and included torture, labor camps, and forced sterilization.

The Golden State Warriors, of which Palihapitiya owns a minority stake, also tried to distance itself from Palihapitiya following his remarks.

“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the basketball team said in a tweet on Monday.

After drawing backlash, Palihapitiya tweeted to offer “clarifying comments” but stopped short of apologizing for his remarks.

“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,” he said. “I acknowledge that entirely. As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere.”

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