CNN host Van Jones explained Tuesday why he accepted an invitation to speak at a National Association of Black Journalists event on coronavirus misinformation sponsored by a banned Chinese tech company.
Jones would not have participated in the event had he known that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei was involved, he told his Twitter followers. NABJ noted in a tweet that the group pulled out of the webinar event, citing “distraction of priorities.”
“I accepted invite to participate in NABJ webinar, warning black community about #COVID misinformation. I said ‘yes’ without knowing sponsor. Glad NABJ canceled; I wouldn’t have participated. I’ll keep raising alarm about pandemic’s impact on vulnerable people,” he said.
Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am and former CNN journalist Roland Martin were pegged to join Jones on the panel. (RELATED: Chinese Tech Company Will Host Panel On COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’ Featuring CNN’s Van Jones)
The Wednesday webinar was expected to “explore how journalists and leaders across industries can come together to fight against a unified enemy: COVID-19” and how “disinformation about the coronavirus disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income neighborhoods,” according to NABJ’s registration page, which has since been deleted.
President Donald Trump is fighting a two-pronged battle against Huawei. His administration is trying to convince allies to steer clear of the Chinese company’s products, while at the same time the Department of Justice is making the case that the company’s chief financial officer violated Iranian sanctions.
The DOJ leveled a 13-count indictment in January 2019 against Huawei and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, accusing China’s tech behemoth of bank fraud, wire fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice related to the DOJ’s investigation.
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