Pennsylvania Democrats appear unfazed by a Golden State Warriors part-owner who said “nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs.”

While the state party in Wisconsin has given $10,000 to charity to counter a donation from billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, the state party in Pennsylvania did not respond to questions about whether it would return an identical donation it accepted from Palihapitiya last year.

The California venture capitalist landed in hot water for comments he made during his own podcast, “All In,” in which a podcast co-host brought up the human rights abuses Uyghurs are enduring in China. 

Palihapitiya responded, saying, “nobody cares.”

“Ok. You bring it up because you really care, and I think it’s nice that you care — the rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you … a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line. Of all the things I care about, it is below my line,” he reiterated in conclusion.

Soon after the comments made national headlines, the Golden State Warriors distanced themselves. The NBA franchise released a statement minimizing Palihapitiya’s involvement with the team, according to ESPN.

“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 Democratic Party of Wisconsin also distanced itself.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Wisconsin Dems are passing along Palihapitiya’s money to a related charity.

“In keeping with our commitment to democracy and human rights at home and abroad, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin applauds the Biden administration’s leadership in confronting China’s shameful and hideous treatment of its Uyghur population, and has made a $10,000 contribution to a charity supporting Uyghurs,” the party said.

But Dems in Pennsylvania show no sign of refunding their $10,000 gift. Broad + Liberty reached out to Democratic Party of Pennsylvania and received no response.

Palihapitiya has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats in recent years. In 2020 alone, he contributed $750,000 to Senate Majority PAC, which works to elect Democrats to the Senate.

The same year, he also made dozens of smaller donations to individual candidates and state parties. Among them, Palihapitiya sent $10,000 each to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania.

Contrary to Palihapitiya’s comments, China’s treatment of Uyghurs continues to receive national attention. The French parliament passed a motion Thursday officially recognizing China’s actions as “crimes against humanity and genocide,” according to Reuters.

The Palihapitiya controversy is the latest incident to show China’s human rights abuses have come into focus most saliently in the world of sports.

His part-ownership of an NBA team heightens the stakes because the NBA has come under withering criticism in the last few years for being too solicitous in their relationship with the Beijing regime in an effort to continue to build the league’s brand in China.

Daryl Morey, the former general manager of the Houston Rockets, caused an all-out panic within the league in 2019 when he tweeted support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Most recently, the tribulations of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai have gripped the world after she accused a top Chinese Communist Party official of sexual assault. Shuai disappeared shortly after. When she reappeared and walked back her accusations, few thought the retraction was uncoerced. By that point, the World Tennis Association had already announced it was cancelling lucrative tournaments booked in the mainland.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for Broad + Liberty. @RRickman20

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