The founder of Utah-based property management software company Entrata, Dave Bateman, has resigned from the company’s board after sending an anti-Semitic mass email warning that coronavirus vaccines were a plot to “euthanise the American people,” adding “I believe the Jews were behind this.”
According to Fox 13, Bateman titled the email “Genocide.” and sent it to numerous prominent Utahns, including Governor Spencer Cox, Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla, Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith (who also owns the Utah Jazz), and other tech CEOs in the region of the state known as the Silicon Slopes. Bateman opened the email by warning the message recipients were about to receive may come off as nutso, then dove straight into a convoluted theory that the vaccine is part of a Jewish plot to commit mass murder and infiltrate one of their own into the papacy.
“I write this email knowing that many of you will think I’m crazy after reading it,” Bateman wrote. “I believe there is a sadistic effort underway to euthanise 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.”
“I believe the Jews are behind this,” he continued. “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.”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Bateman referenced baseless claims that Microsoft founder Bill Gates and a shadowy cabal of global elites back vaccination as a form of population control. He also cited Mike Yeadon, a former Pfizer scientist who has gained celebrity status in the antivax community by advancing unfounded, panicky claims about vaccines, like that they are killing scores of kids.
Anti-Semitism is rife in the antivaxx movement, which has significant crossover with other conspiracy theories. Fact-checkers at Agence France-Press recently debunked viral claims that a “rabbinical court” had ruled Jews are forbidden from receiving coronavirus vaccines. Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, the director of Beth Din of America, said the signatories of the purported ruling were unknown to him and mainstream Orthodox Jewish community leaders support vaccination.
Bateman’s email had an immediate effect, though perhaps not the one he was anticipating. The Tribune reported Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds announced on Tuesday that “Dave is no longer a member of the board, effective immediately.” Gov. Cox tweeted that Bateman’s “irresponsible comments are hurtfully anti-Semitic, blatantly false, and we completely reject them.”
Statement from me and Entrata. pic.twitter.com/bxKWS9s5zx
— Adam Edmunds (@adamedmunds) January 4, 2022
“It’s a flaming pile of garbage on its face,” Rabbi Avremi Zippel of Chabad Utah told Fox 13. “I’m not going to dignify the content of that email with kind of a blow-by-blow of how asinine it is… We know how quickly things go from ridiculous conspiracy theories online and in emails, how that jumps to violence rather quickly.”
According to Fox 13, Bateman also earned widespread condemnation throughout Utah’s tech community, including Silicon Slopes Commons head Clint Betts and Paytm executive Blake McClary.
“It’s incredibly disturbing that somebody in our community would voice these kinds of opinions, especially during this time,” Utah Tech Leads executive director Elizabeth Converse told the station. “We’ve all seen a rise in anti-Semitic behaviour across the country and specifically in Utah because of the virus.”
Bateman isn’t exactly a stranger to controversy. According to the Atlantic, Bateman “personally” funded a lawsuit by the Utah state GOP to reverse a law that allowed political candidates to get on primary ballots via petition. A February 2018 meeting of ultra-conservative activists who allegedly desired to rewrite the state party’s bylaws to oust Utah’s Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a longtime target of the MAGA crowd, apparently occurred at Entrata’s offices.
The next month, KUTV reported on a leaked recording of state Senator Todd Weiler stating that he could connect a former Entrata employee who had accused Bateman of sexual harassment with a lawyer; Bateman spun an elaborate narrative that it was an extortion plot. The same year, Bateman posted a video claiming an alleged arson attempt at the Entrata building was “politically motivated.”
In 2019, Bateman reportedly offended female attendees at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit when he introduced baseball star Alex Rodriguez by asking all the women in the audience to stand before joking “Sorry ladies, he’s taken.”
Bloomberg reported that Entrata announced in July 2021 it had completed a $US507 million (about $697 million) funding round led by Silver Lake, with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, Vivint co-founder Todd Pedersen, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Domo Inc. CEO Josh James also involved. At that time, Bateman was described as the company’s majority shareholder.
Bateman doubled down on his email in text messages to Fox 13, claiming he loves all Jewish people so long as they aren’t “behind the pandemic”:
“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.”
Entrata didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo, nor did we receive a response to an email sent to Bateman’s company email address. We’ll update this story when we hear back.