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Heat's Meyers Leonard Uses Anti-Semitic Slur During Call of Duty Live Stream

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard (0) runs up the court after a play during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur while playing Call of Duty during a live stream.

Leonard can be heard calling another player a "f--king k--e b---h" (warning: video contains profanity and an anti-Semitic slur):

Main Team @MainTeamSports

Meyers Leonard says racial slurs while playing CoD https://t.co/WHwUnbV0pR

Leonard issued an apology for the slur Tuesday night:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard releases statement apologizing for saying anti-Semitic slur on a livestream: https://t.co/AOi7ZE6nCy

The Heat announced Leonard would "be away from the team indefinitely" while the NBA investigates his conduct:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Statement from the Miami Heat on center Meyers Leonard: https://t.co/RmRaLZ1bxR

A Heat spokesperson told the New York Times' Marc Stein the team is reviewing the video.

"We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information," NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement. "The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech."

The 29-year-old has built a following through his streaming sessions on Twitch and announced a partnership with FaZe Clan in June 2019. FaZe said Tuesday it was "incredibly disappointed to hear Meyers' stream" today before confirming announcing it's severing its relationship with him:

FaZe Clan @FaZeClan

A statement from FaZe Clan. https://t.co/ePo1NGEaN5

Other companies announced they are ending their partnerships with Leonard as well:

SCUF @ScufGaming

A comment was recently made by Meyers Leonard that does not reflect the values or views of SCUF. We have decided to cease our working relationship with Meyers as we look into it further.

originpc @ORIGINPC

A comment was recently made by Meyers Leonard that does not reflect the values or views of ORIGIN PC. We have decided to cease our working relationship with Meyers as we look into it further.

Leonard's use of the slur comes amid an increase in anti-Semitism in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League reported acts of anti-Semitism began to increase in 2016 after dropping for almost 15 years. In 2019, anti-Jewish hate crimes increased by 14 percent and reported anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. increased by 12 percent to 2,107, the highest number recorded since the ADL began documenting incidents in 1979.

According to the American Jewish Committee, an FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Report found that 60 percent of religious-based hate crimes in 2019 targeted Jewish people, who make up less than 2 percent of the total U.S. population. Anti-Semitic hate crimes and acts of anti-Semitism are also underreported—AJC found in 2019 that 76 percent of American Jews don't report the anti-Semitism they face.

In 2021, there have already been multiple reports of anti-Semitic vandalism ​from New York to Washington. Just last month, Kentucky became the first state in the U.S. to recognize the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism, following hate crimes in Lexington this past fall, including when a driver yelling slurs ran over and injured a man at a menorah lighting ceremony.

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