OpenAI’s Sam Altman says he was ‘totally wrong’ to call antisemitism overblown

Artificial intelligence pioneer says he was mistaken to argue that antisemitism, particularly on the left, was ‘not as bad as people claimed’

Founder and CEO of US artificial intelligence company OpenAI Sam Altman speaks at the Tel Aviv University in the eponymous Israeli city, on June 5, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Founder and CEO of US artificial intelligence company OpenAI Sam Altman speaks at the Tel Aviv University in the eponymous Israeli city, on June 5, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Sam Altman, the Jewish tech entrepreneur behind artificial intelligence juggernaut OpenAI, said he was “totally wrong” to downplay the existence of American antisemitism.

“For a long time I said that antisemitism, particularly on the American left, was not as bad as people claimed. I’d like to just state that I was totally wrong,” he wrote in a post on X on Friday.

Altman, who was named TIME magazine’s CEO of the year this week, does not elaborate on what triggered the about-face, but it comes as attention has focused on anti-Jewish rhetoric on college campuses and at demonstrations against Israel’s war against Hamas.

“I still don’t understand it, really. or know what to do about it. But it is so fucked,” he concluded.

Israel launched a broad offensive in Gaza aimed at destroying Hamas — after the October 7 deadly assault by Hamas terrorists on southern Israel that killed some 1,200 people, most of them civilians murdered amid brutal atrocities in their homes or at a music festival, and saw some 240 people taken hostage. Since then, there has been an explosion of antisemitism around the world.

The Anti-Defamation League has recorded a nearly quadruple spike in antisemitic incidents since the onset of the war. The Biden administration has also called on universities to fight an “alarming rise” in antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Many of the incidents targeting Jewish people have come alongside left-wing demonstrations supporting the Palestinians and demonstrations on leading campuses across the US. In many of the instances, there have been calls seen as calling for genocide against Jews.

There has also been a spike in online antisemitism and on social media.

Jewish employees of TikTok have spoken out against an increasingly toxic work environment since Hamas’s October 7 massacre, and the company’s lack of efforts to combat antisemitism on the video social media platform.

Unnamed workers told Fox Business Thursday that colleagues have freely expressed antisemitic and anti-Israel views on Lark, their internal chat system, and noted that the company’s 40,000 moderators have allowed anti-Israel and antisemitic misinformation to run rampant on TikTok.

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