Well-known Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is under fire and he’s fighting back. The fire is coming from other Black justice activists who are questioning his fundraising tactics and alleged misuse of funds.
And King is not having it.
“If you have posted publicly that I have ever spent or stolen a single penny I’ve raised for families in this movement, I am opening a legal case against you,” King threatened on Twitter. “This is a complete fabrication.”
Recently, other activists have questions about a $100,000 reward he and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt offered for successful tips which led to an arrest in connection to young Black child’s murder, reports The Washington Post.
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“The most recent scrutiny started around King when he named a white man as a key suspect in the December killing of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in Houston, Texas, citing it as a hate crime. After noticing the man’s mug shot looked eerily similar to a police sketch in the Barnes case, King posted the man’s photo on Twitter,” Chill reported
Problem was the man, Robert Cantrell, had no connection to the case. And people are wondering what happened to the $100,000 reward, funds raised from donors. And the accusations haven’t sat well with King.
In turn, other Black activists aren’t happy about Kind threatening legal action, especially after King sent cease-and-desist letters to them.
“This was a heavy-handed and unnecessary act by someone claiming to be committed to justice and uplifting Black people,” tweeted Clarissa Brooks, a Black, queer community activist, recent Spelman College graduate, and recipient of one of King’s cease-and-desist letters. “I am not a malicious person and I do not appreciate being accused of trying to destroy anyone.”
Even observers have an opinion.
“Q: if your activism is based around Black ppl who have been crushed by the criminal justice system, and you are now using both your sphere of influence AND that same system to crush Black ppl who have been skeptical of your tactics…Are we allowed to query your activism?” wrote Twitter user @_ShamGod in a widely shared tweet on the topic.
But this is not the only time King’s fundraising has faced scrutiny.
The Daily Beast published a story called “Where Did All the Money Shaun King Raised for Black Lives Go?” in December 2015. And in it, journalist Goldie Taylor questioned various fundraising efforts led by King all the way back to his time as a pastor at Atlanta’s megachurch Courageous Church.
“In the article Taylor pointed out that although King claimed to have raised $1 million for Haiti disaster relief in 2010, the Miriam Center, a Christian mission and beneficiary of the funds, reported that $540,000 had been raised — and that only $200,000 had ever actually been granted to the center,” Chill reported.
“People need to understand that failure is not fraud,” King told the Daily Beast.
Also in 2015, The Post’s Wesley Lowery wondered where $60,000 raised by King and others for the family of Tamir Rice had gone. Rice’s family had been unaware of the fundraiser. After the article, additional funds raised by King and others were eventually used to assist Rice’s family.
Still, Shaun King has staunchly defended his activism and fundraising efforts and recently released a 72-page fundraising report detailing his use of the funds. A Black Lives Matter fundraising Audit regarding the $34 million raised shows $631,000 for white supremacy, $20 million for immigration.
King’s report goes into further detail. “The report was published via Medium and features the research work of Tamika Mallory, Co-Chair of The Women’s March and Co-Founder of Justice League NYC and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who King claims he gave full access to all his accounting records, including his bank account, credit card statements, and work with a pair of political action committees,” Hip Hop Wired reported.