David Bateman, founder of the Utah startup Entrata, has resigned as chairman of the company’s board of directors, effective immediately, after an email surfaced Tuesday in which he pushed the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people were behind a “sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people” using the COVID-19 vaccine.
CEO Adam Edmunds announced the news on Twitter, calling the email “highly offensive” and saying the board asked Bateman to step down.
“The opinions expressed by Dave were his alone, and do not reflect the views or values of Entrata,” Edmunds wrote.
Just this July, Entrata raised over $500 million in a funding round led by Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and the prominent Menlo Park-based investment firm Silver Lake, according to the data analytics firm Crunchbase. In a statement, a spokesperson for Silver Lake told Motherboard that Bateman’s comments do “not reflect our views in any way.” On Twitter, Smith said the email “crossed lines that should never be crossed.”
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The email, first reported by a local Fox affiliate, quickly generated national condemnation Tuesday. In the email, which Bateman titled “Genocide,” the Entrata founder pushed the antisemitic, anti-COVID-19 vaccination conspiracy theory while falsely alleging that vaccine criticism is being silenced. (Motherboard was not able to independently review the email.)
“I write this email knowing that many of you will think I’m crazy after reading it. I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanize the American people. It’s obvious now. It’s undeniable, yet no one is doing anything. Everyone is discounting their own judgment, and dismissing their intuition,” Bateman wrote, according to the Fox Affiliate.
“I believe the Jews are behind this,” he continued. “For 300 years the Jews have been trying to infiltrate the Catholic Church and place a Jew covertly at the top. It happened in 2013 with Pope Francis. I believe the pandemic and systematic extermination of billions of people will lead to an effort to consolidate all the countries in the world under a single flag with totalitarian rule. I know, it sounds bonkers. No one is reporting on it, but the Hasidic Jews in the US instituted a law for their people that they are not to be vaccinated for any reason.
“I pray that I’m wrong on this. Utah has got to stop the vaccination drive. Warn your employees. Warn your friends. Prepare. Stay safe.”
When local Fox affiliate reporter Ben Winslow asked Bateman about the email, Bateman confirmed it came from him.
“Yes. I sent it. I have nothing but love for the Jewish people. Some of my closest friends are Jews. My heart breaks for their 2500 years they’ve been mistreated by nearly every country on earth. But I do believe Scottish Rite Freemasons are behind the pandemic (overwhelmingly Jewish),” he told Winslow. “And I fear billions of people around the globe right now are being exterminated.”
Bateman tried to explain himself by telling Winslow he only sent the email to a few “close friends” (Winslow’s words). The email was sent to people including Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, and Clint Betts, who runs a local industry group dedicated to promoting Utah’s tech industry.
Those on the email are now distancing themselves from Bateman and condemning Utah’s most famous antisemite. Betts called it “insane, intolerant, and anti-semitic” and said it was “not representative of Silicon Slopes or the inclusive community so many in this state are trying to build.” The governor, for his part, said the comments were “hurtfully anti-Semitic, blatantly false, and we completely reject them,” claiming on his personal Twitter account that he never took campaign contributions from Bateman and considered the comments “crazy stuff.”
Bateman, a prominent Utah supporter of the Republican Party, has faced criticism repeatedly in the past. Betts’ tech organization, Silicon Slopes, was forced to apologize after Bateman asked women at a conference to stand and cheer for Alex Rodriguez. Then, last year, Nikola founder Trevor Milton reportedly sued him for defamation after Bateman accused him of sexually abusing women on Twitter.
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