Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks conservative celebrities like James Woods or Jon Voight should not have the right to voice their opinions in the public square and has called on social media companies to silence them.
In an op-ed published by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, Abdul-Jabbar wrote that these conservative celebrities should be censored and even thrown off platforms, accusing them of causing “harm to society.”
“No matter their previous achievements, celebrities deserve legacy-killing backlash when they spread ignorance,” he argues. “Great success in one field can lead to the delusion that all your thoughts are great.”
“Few are more beloved than J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter books make up the best-selling series in history. Yet her anti-trans tweets may not only damage the Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, they could end up tainting her entire literary legacy,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Even the stars of the movies — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Eddie Redmayne — have spoken out against her position. John Cleese’s tone-deaf defense of Rowling left many fans bitterly disappointed, tarnishing his reputation.”
With his outspoken demands, Abdul-Jabbar contends that being outspoken harms the foundation of society.
“It would be tempting to dismiss this self-mutilation as merely the triggering of overly sensitive ‘cancel culture.’ But some of this public braying does immediate harm to the foundation of society,” he wrote. “Giuliani’s attacks on the integrity of the 2020 elections, without any substantive evidence, has undermined the democratic process. A post-election poll indicated that 77 percent of Republicans think Joe Biden won because of fraud. Since no credible proof has ever been shown, this opinion can only be held because they practice flat-earther, anti-vaxxer cult-think: Someone in authority told me what I want to hear, so it must be true.”
To any naysayers that might question his sports celebrity status, the anti-free-speech Abdul-Jabbar counters that he’s written “books and articles about history, culture, and politics for 30 years” to establish his credibility.
The former Los Angeles Laker noted the disclaimers social media companies may sometimes put on a certain celebrity’s statement, but he thinks they should do more to stop such opinions from circulating.
“Social media companies have begun slapping warnings on some messages that are false, incite violence or cause harm to society,” he noted. “But this needs to be done with more consistency and vigilance. Studies indicate that when readers see these warnings, they are less likely to read or believe things. However, as another study showed, there can be a backfire effect in which content that isn’t flagged, even when inaccurate, is perceived as true.”
“Many Americans imbue stars with political and social intelligence they just don’t have,” the basketball star wrote. “Great success in one field can lead to the delusion that all your thoughts are great. 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.”
It’s not the first time Abdul-Jabbar has publicly attacked people he disagrees with.
Back in March of 2019, Hollywood was threatening to boycott the state of Georgia for passing a pro-life law. Abdul-Jabbar was one of several celebrities who supported such a boycott of the Peach State. In an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter he wrote, “The time-traveling DeLorean is speeding toward 1950, and when it hits 88 mph, it’s going to suck the whole country back with it. Back to a time when pretty much everyone who wasn’t a straight, white Christian male was considered a second-class citizen whose rights and future depended on the patriarchs’ whims and largesse.”