Fallout From Utah Tech Executive’s Antisemitic Email Rant Continues
The fallout resulting from an unhinged antisemitic email sent out on Monday by a leading technology entrepreneur in Utah continued to roil business and political leaders in the state on Thursday.
David Bateman — the founder of Utah-based software firm Entrata and a prominent Republican Party donor in the state — pulled no punches in advancing some of the most extreme and hateful of the antisemitic conspiracy theories that have mushroomed during the two year COVID-19 pandemic.
Bateman blamed the spread of the coronavirus on “the Jews” as he warned of “a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people” through vaccinations. Among the bizarre falsehoods contained in the email were the claims that Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, is secretly a Jew, that Hasidic Jews in the US are the beneficiaries of an unreported law that exempts them from being vaccinated, and that vaccination against COVID-19 destroys women’s reproductive systems.
On Tuesday afternoon, Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds said Bateman had stepped down from the company’s board of directors and resigned his position as chairman as a result of the email.
Shock and upset at Bateman’s antisemitic rant has meanwhile spilled over into Utah politics. Bateman’s record of donations to the GOP drew calls from Utah Democrats and the United Utah Party for the funds to be returned. And within the Republican Party, a challenger to incumbent Senator Mike Lee called on him to donate more than $6,000 of funding received from Bateman to Jewish charities.
“Antisemitic rhetoric has absolutely no place in our community, especially at a time when antisemitic crime has increased,” Republican senatorial candidate Ally Isom declared in a statement. “The incumbent may not have complete control over what money comes into his coffers, but he has complete control over where that money goes. I call upon Sen. Lee to make things right and donate Bateman’s contributions to Jewish charitable organizations.”
Bateman’s comments were widely condemned by business, religious and political leaders. Jonathan Johnson — CEO of e-commerce giant Overstock and one of the recipients of Bateman’s antisemitic rant — was reported by local outlet Deseret News to have told Bateman that he wanted nothing to do with the latter’s conspiracy theories.
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City strongly denounced Bateman’s antisemitism, pouring scorn on his claims about Pope Francis. “Antisemitism has no place in our society and we urge Utah Catholics who hear conspiracy theories suggesting our Jewish brothers and sisters have somehow infiltrated our church or world in some nefarious plot to immediately block any sources that promote such nonsense as factual,” the Diocese stated.
Utah Tech Leads, a political action committee, said it had launched a pledge for local tech leaders to endorse. “We are creating a coalition of companies to help combat antisemitism, racism, and other discriminatory practices and beliefs within our community,” read the pledge, which had attracted the support of 40 companies in the tech sector within a day of its launch.