Hong Kong protesters wear LeBron James masks

A picture is circulating on social media that claims that a Hong Kong protester wore a printed-out photograph of LeBron James, who has recently made controversial comments about China, in order to evade AI facial recognition during protests.

“Hong Kong protestor spoofs facial recognition AI with LeBron’s face and my respect for these guys just hit a whole new level,” tweeted John Noonan, the previous national security policy advisor to former presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Chinese officials have allegedly been using facial recognition to detect and to control protesters.

Earlier this week, James called the Houston Rockets manager “misinformed” and “not educated” for tweeting in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters.

In response, protesters have taken aim at James, with some burning his jersey, according to NBC. Meanwhile, the protesters have also held a rally in support of general manager Daryl Morey, who has since deleted his tweet because of backlash from mainland China.

“James was trying, you know, to take a side, on the China side, which is like ridiculous,” marketing director Aaron Lee told Yahoo Sports. “He was being honest, financially. Financial is money. Simple as that. LeBron James stands for money. Period.”

The picture shows a man wearing a photo of James’ face as a mask and holding a Yuan, reflecting the argument from Hong Kong protesters that James cares more about money than for human rights.

Protesters also told NBC that they viewed James as having a “double standard” because he has previously used his status to advocate for human rights in the United States.

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Sierra Juarez

Sierra Juarez

Sierra Juarez is a freelance journalist and fact-checker based in Mexico. She most enjoys writing about human rights and politics and working in audience engagement. Her work has appeared in the Texas Tribune, the Austin American–Statesman, and the San Antonio Current.