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Utah tech executive resigns after anti-Semitic email rant

Posted at 11:37 AM, Jan 04, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — The founder and chair of Entrata, a Silicon Slopes tech firm, has resigned his position after sending an email to a number of tech CEOs and Utah business and political leaders, claiming the COVID-19 vaccine is part of a plot by "the Jews" to exterminate people.

The remarks triggered condemnation throughout Utah's tech community, and led to David Bateman's resignation from the company's board of directors after FOX 13 first reported on the email.

The email by Bateman, shared with FOX 13 by numerous sources Tuesday morning, begins with the subject line "Genocide." Bateman confirmed to FOX 13 in text messages that he sent 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.

In the email, Bateman attacks the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and urged people not to get it. He also claims that criticism of the vaccine is being censored and international charges were going to be filed against Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"I believe the Jews are behind this. 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," he wrote in the email.

"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."

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Among those the email went to were Utah Jazz owner and Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, Governor Spencer Cox, Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla, Economic Development Corporation of Utah CEO Theresa Foxley and a number of other Silicon Slopes CEOs.
In text messages, Bateman confirmed to FOX 13 he wrote the email.

"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 wrote. "And I fear billions of people around the globe right now are being exterminated."

In a tweet late Tuesday, Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds condemned Bateman's comments.

"The opinions expressed by Dave were his alone, and do not reflect the views or values of Entrata, the executive team, board of directors, or investors. To be absolutely clear, we at Entrata condemn antisemitism in any and all forms," wrote Edmunds.

Bateman told FOX 13 he emailed a few close friends with his personal opinion and "had no intention of raising a big stir." He has retired as Entrata's CEO but remains chair of the company's board. Last year, Entrata raised $507 million with the help of Smith and Vivint founder Todd Pederson, among others.

Bateman has been a prominent figure in Republican politics in Utah. He was a big donor to the party, bailing them out of financial trouble and supporting one faction of the Utah GOP in an internal fight that spilled out in public over paths for candidates to get on the ballot.

Gov. Spencer Cox, who was cc'd on the original Bateman email, used Twitter to respond to the allegations made.

"These irresponsible comments are hurtfully anti-Semitic, blatantly false, and we completely reject them," Cox tweeted.

On his personal Twitter account, Governor Cox used colorful emojis to describe the email as "batsh— crazy."

Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad Utah called the email "blatant anti-semitism."

"It’s a flaming pile of garbage on its face. I’m not going to dignify the content of that email with kind of a blow-by-blow of how asinine it is," Rabbi Zippel said, adding that he was concerned it 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.

Zippel, who is Hasidic, also added he is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as is his congregation.

The United Jewish Federation of Utah said Bateman's email contained "vile, hyperbolic and untrue accusations against Jews which amplify some of the worst anti-Semitism in our history."

"The United Jewish Federation of Utah calls on organizations associated with this individual to distance themselves from this individual, who has taken a public and open stance on some of the worse antisemitic tropes in our society. We must accept that any association with this individual and support for his activities only continues to strengthen this type of hate, and reflects by association, on the organizations that he is part," the group said.

The email stunned many who work in Utah's tech industry, including leaders of the political action committee that represents them on Capitol Hill.

"It’s incredibly disturbing that somebody in our community would voice these kinds of opinions, especially during this time," said Elizabeth Converse, the executive director of Utah Tech Leads. "We’ve all seen a rise in anti-semitic behavior across the country and specifically in Utah because of the virus."

Clint Betts, who heads Silicon Slopes Commons, the industry group that represents Utah's tech industry and hosts the annual Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, was a recipient of Bateman's email. He condemned the comments in a post on Twitter.

Blake McClary, a prominent Silicon Slopes tech executive, also took to Twitter to criticize Bateman and the email.

Sara Dansie Jones, the CEO of InclusionPro and a co-founder of the Women Tech Council, also called out the comments.

Late Tuesday, Utah Tech Leads launched a website calling on Silicon Slopes companies to sign a pledge condemning anti-semitism.

"We are creating a coalition of companies to help combat antisemitism, racism, and other discriminatory practices and beliefs within our community," the group said. "This commitment is more than words. It is a daily choice for tech leaders to seek out opportunities to educate and be educated, to share their understanding with their workforce, and to stand together to protect the values that we so strongly share."

The Utah Democratic Party issued a statement in response as well:

“The statements made in an email from David Bateman, which became public today, are disgusting, unfounded, and dangerous, and the Utah Democratic Party condemns them fully and completely. This rhetoric perpetuates harmful stereotypes about Jewish people and puts Utah’s Jewish community in danger. It is absolutely unacceptable, especially from a leader in the tech community. We stand with the Jewish community in disavowing his comments.

Additionally, Bateman has given hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of support to the Utah GOP. We call on them to publicly condemn and disavow his comments, and return the $55,000 of donations that Entrata has directly given the party since 2017. When it comes to such serious matters as antisemitism, silence is complicity.”