The unfolding Gaza-Israel crisis has seen both antisemitism and Islamophobia skyrocket across the globe.
Now, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has taken advantage of his considerable platform to call for support for both groups.
"Muslim and Arab (especially Palestinian) colleagues in the tech community I've spoken with feel uncomfortable speaking about their recent experiences, often out of fear of retaliation and damaged career prospects," Altman tweeted.
"Our industry should be united in our support of these colleagues; it is an atrocious time," he added. "I continue to hope for a real and lasting peace, and that in the meantime we can treat each other with empathy."
It's an unusually candid and clear-headed sentiment coming from a tech CEO. Broadly speaking, executives of his stature tend to shy away from making politically charged statements — with one notable exception, of course.
After being asked how he felt about the experience of Jewish colleagues, Altman offered an incisive comment.
"I am Jewish," he replied. "I believe that antisemitism is a significant and growing problem in the world, and I see a lot of people in our industry sticking up for me, which I deeply appreciate."
"I see much less of that for Muslims," he added.
The war has led to a sharp incline in hate against both groups. Last month, the Council on American-Islamic Relations noted that it had received a "staggering" 2,171 complaints over the past 57 days, a 172 percent increase over a similar two-month period in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League recorded a total of 2,031 antisemitic incidents, a chilling 337 percent increase year-over-year.
While Altman is using his reach to highlight the plights of Muslim tech workers, other tech CEOs are actively contributing to the problem. Take X-formerly-Twitter owner Elon Musk, who was singled out for publicly agreeing with an appalling antisemitic claim about Jewish people last year.
Musk has also added to the barrage of disinformation on his social media platform by recommending unvetted accounts that are notorious for promoting lies.
In contrast, Altman's expression of concern is noteworthy — and shows how even some of the most influential business leaders are struggling to make sense of the violence in Gaza.
"For a long time, I said that antisemitism, particularly on the American left, was not as bad as people claimed," Altman tweeted in early December. "I'd like to just state that I was totally wrong. I still don't understand it, really. Or know what to do about it."
"But it is so fucked," he added.
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