Michael Imperioli has seized on Kyrie Irving being suspended over antisemitic remarks as a teaching moment — and an opportunity to get the word out about Four Winters, a new documentary about Jewish Resistance fighters who stood up to the Nazis during World War II.
The Sopranos veteran, now starring in The White Lotus, is conducting a Q&A with Julia Mintz, director of Four Winters, in New York City tonight. The Brooklyn Nets said Thursday that the team was suspending Irving for at least five games for promoting an antisemitic documentary called Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America— and then refusing to immediately reject antisemitism. (He eventually did issue an apology, which is below.) Imperioli took to Instagram Friday to suggest that the NBA star might benefit from joining him Saturday to watch Four Winters and learn about the evils of antisemitism.
“Hey KYRIE, since you are suspended this weekend maybe come see FOUR WINTERS at the NEW PLAZA CINEMA in Manhattan,” Imperioli wrote. “It’s a documentary about the Jewish Resistance Fighters in World War and is a poweful message about the horrors and evils of antisemitism. A great history lesson for us all that speaks volumes to the present. I will be doing a conversation with the director JULIA MINTZ after the 6 pm Saturday screening and invite you to attend as my guest. But it’s probably more important for you to go Friday at 6 as Holocaust survivor and activist EVA HALLER will be there for the after-film discussion.”
Update, Saturday Night: Kyrie Irving did not attend either screening.
The Nets suspended Irving after he promoted the Hebrews to Negroes film online, and then, according to the team, refused to state unequivocally that he rejects antisemitism.
“We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify,” the Nets said in a statement Thursday.
Soon after his suspension, Kyrie Irving did release a statement on his Instagram: “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary. I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism [sic] by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all.”
Imperioli is on a creative tear of late: Besides hosting the recent Talking Sopranos podcast with Steve Schirripa, he also made a [SPOILER ALERT] very surprise appearance in The Many Saints of Newark, doing a shock voiceover from the grave as his Sopranos character, Christopher Moltisanti. [END SPOILER ALERT] And he and Schirripa are planning a new mystery project with Sopranos creator David Chase.
Michael Imperioli is also starring in The White Lotus as a Hollywood bigwig in a marriage he has destroyed, traveling to Sicily with his amorous father (F. Murray Abraham). And he will star in Hulu’s upcoming The Fool as a Unitarian cleric with a messianic streak and troublesomely oversized phallus.
Main image: From Four Winters, a group of Jewish Resistance fighters who took up arms against the Nazis.