A Utah tech company founder and onetime prominent figure in state Republican politics resigned from the board of the company he started Tuesday after sending an email outlining an antisemitic vaccination conspiracy theory.
David Bateman, founder and board chair of the property management software company Entrata, claimed the COVID-19 vaccine is part of an extermination plot by “the Jews,” Fox13 reported.
The email attacks the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and urges people not to receive it. It claims 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.”
The email's recipients included the owner of NBA’s Utah Jazz, Ryan Smith, GOP Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla, a Democrat.
“These irresponsible comments are hurtfully antisemitic, blatantly false, and we completely reject them,” Cox tweeted.
Bateman confirmed he sent the email in a text message to the news station and said he had “nothing but love for the Jewish people” despite repeating the assertions in the email. The email contained his personal opinion and was intended for a few friends, he said.
Bateman had previously retired as CEO of Entrata, but remained chair of the company’s board. On Tuesday the board of directors asked him to step down.
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“The opinions expressed by Dave were his alone and do not reflect the views or values of Entrata ... To be absolutely clear, we at Entrata firmly condemn antisemitism in any and all forms,” CEO Adam Edmunds said in a statement.
His email was also met with shock and dismay from people like Blake McClary, another prominent Utah tech executive who runs the Salt Lake City chapter of Silicon Slopes, a nonprofit representing the state’s tech industry. He tweeted a call for Bateman to step down from Entrata and “not embarrass us.”
Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad Utah called the email “blatant anti-Semitism” and a “flaming pile of garbage” that could lead to real-world violence.
“We know how quickly things go from ridiculous conspiracy theories online and in emails, how that jumps to violence rather quickly,” he said.
Bateman had been a prominent figure in Utah Republican politics, financially bailing the party out several years ago when its legal debt mounted during a court fight over paths for candidates to get on the ballot.