Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says conservative and liberal stars should be censored on social media for 'harmful opinions'
The former NBA star, in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, particularly slammed conservative Hollywood celebrities Jon Voight and James Woods, and liberals like JK Rowling
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar denounced conservatives and some liberals, like author JK Rowling, for disseminating "irrational and harmful opinions" and urged social media giants to heighten censorship of their public messages. The former NBA star, in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, particularly noted conservative Hollywood celebrities Jon Voight and James Woods, and liberals like Rowling, who has advocated for recognizing the difference between transgender women and biological women.
Abdul-Jabbar wrote: "Social media companies have begun slapping warnings on some messages that are false, incite violence or cause harm to society. But this needs to be done with more consistency and vigilance. Many Americans imbue stars with political and social intelligence they just don’t have… It doesn’t help to be surrounded by fawning people whose job it is to agree with everything you say. The irresponsibility of tweeting irrational and harmful opinions to millions, regardless of the damaging consequences to their country or people’s lives, proves that those stars deserve the harsh backlash."
The basketball star called out Voight and alleged that one of the actor's recent social media videos was filled with unfounded claims about the presidential elections, which reduced him "from brilliant Oscar winner to cultural dumpster diver." He also denounced actor Woods and called him a "cranky geezer." However, Abdul-Jabbar's harshest criticism was directed at Rowling over her recent comments on transgender women. He wrote: "Her anti-trans tweets may not only damage the Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, they could end up tainting her entire literary legacy."
Rowling in a recent controversial statement had said: "I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth." Ever since Rowling's public stance on the issue, many actors from the Harry Potter franchise, including actor Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, and actress Emma Watson, who player Hermoine Granger, distanced themselves from Rowling's views.
In his piece, Abdul-Jabbar also denounced Monty Python star John Cleese for defending Rowling, saying his “tone-deaf” defence of the author left many of his fans "bitterly disappointed, tarnishing his reputation."
The basketball star's opinion piece in the outlet came days after he revealed that he battled with and beat prostate cancer in a scathing essay where he slammed inequality in the healthcare system in the country. Abdul-Jabbar previously has also battled with leukemia and had a heart bypass surgery. The legend, however, did not reveal when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer or when he beat it, but he explained that it would not have been possible without his fame and fortune.
The 73-year-old, in a statement for WebMD, wrote: "I've been fortunate because my celebrity has brought me enough financial security to receive excellent medical attention. No one wants an NBA legend dying on their watch. Imagine the Yelp reviews. But while I'm grateful for my advantages, I'm acutely aware that many others in the black community do not have the same options and that it is my responsibility to join with those fighting to change that. Because black lives are at risk. Serious risk."