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In a blog post published Thursday, activist DeRay Mckesson slammed fellow activist Shaun King for unethical behavior and is calling for him to step away from both organizing and fundraising altogether.
“I wrote about Shaun King in an effort to bring clarity to a set of issues that continue to be a topic of conversation re: fundraising, organizing, & activism. I rarely engage in these discussions publicly, but felt compelled given the observed pattern.” Mckesson explained in a tweet.
I wrote about Shaun King in an effort to bring clarity to a set of issues that continue to be a topic of conversation re: fundraising, organizing, & activism.— deray (@deray) September 12, 2019
I rarely engage in these discussions publicly, but felt compelled given the observed pattern.https://t.co/FlTJOcMF86
The lengthy post, published on Medium, recounts King’s alleged long history of problematic leadership, bullying, and lack of transparency with money raised for different causes.
“It is my hope that Shaun refrains from attempts at organizing and fundraising furthermore, that he will keep the commitment he made in 2015,” Mckesson wrote, referencing a disagreement between himself and King back in 2015 when King blocked him on social media for asking about his financial mishandling of money raised for their Justice Together project.
“I’ll keep this brief, but I’ll begin by saying that @ShaunKing blocked me when I asked questions re: planning/money re: JusticeTogether,” Mckesson tweeted at the time.
I'll keep this brief, but I'll begin by saying that @ShaunKing blocked me when I asked questions re: planning/money re: JusticeTogether.— deray (@deray) December 13, 2015
Their Twitter beef raged on for a couple of days, before King eventually issued an apology. “I apologize for adding to the drama,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
Now, Mckesson claims King has crept back on the fundraising and organizing scene, and he isn’t happy about it. With help from other activists, he wrote the post to remind others of King’s problematic history and also raise concerns about a recently published 72-page report which set out to clear the air about King’s fundraising track record.
“I helped DeRay put this together, along with many other Black women, so that there is a clear record re: Shaun King. Read it. The receipts are there. We love receipts.” Johnetta Elzie tweeted. Elzie a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, who has also worked with King in the past.
I helped DeRay put this together, along with many other Black women, so that there is a clear record re: Shaun King.— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) September 12, 2019
Read it. The receipts are there. We love receipts. https://t.co/HCtkDvXP99
One of the foremost issues Mckesson addressed in the post was King’s recently released accounting report. He points out that the report was “not independent” and actually written by friends and associates of the activist.
“Rob Smith is an editor for the Fair Punishment Project where Shaun King was the Writer in Residence.
David Mitrani works at the firm representing the PACs.
Becky Bond is the co-founder of Real Justice PAC.
Tamika Mallory, of the Justice League NYC, is in the report as someone for whom Shaun has raised funds.
Lee Merrit coordinated a set of the fundraisers with Shaun and is listed as one of the lawyers hired to potentially sue Clarissa Brooks,” Mckesson explained.
“When asked why the panel was assembled by his friends, colleagues, or co-workers, he noted that having people he knew, as opposed to an independent audit, was the most ‘efficient’ way to get it done,” Mckesson wrote.
Deray also took issue with the fundraising numbers that have been attributed to King. “The numbers do not add up,” Mckesson argued. He then pointed out that King takes credit for fundraisers even if he did not start them and simply shared them on social media.
“This would be akin to me saying that I fully paid your child’s college tuition because I posted the link to the college fund. Or that I raised millions of dollars in one minute because I amplified the latest fundraiser for The Red Cross,” he wrote.
In the post, Mckesson also points out a long list of King’s other failures and shortcomings including, “silencing others, misstating facts,” and “organizing with no outcomes.” He gives various examples, including King’s failed attempt to mountain climb after raising money for the venture, threatening to sue a Black woman organizer for disagreeing with him, and falsely accusing an innocent man of murder, among many others.
“He often bullies and intimidates those who ask questions at all, turning his ire especially at Black women, attempting to scare inquirers into silence,” he wrote.
Since Deray published his piece, “Shaun King” has been trending on Twitter, with many tweeting in support of Mckesson.
“This is a detailed and well-written overview of the fundraising and organizing of Shaun King. Regardless of your personal views, this piece is worth reading. I just would’ve loved 2 see this published on a site like The Root. This is about to get traffic.” writer Shanita Hubbard tweeted while linking to the piece.
This is a detailed and well-written overview of the fundraising and organizing of Shaun King. Regardless of your personal views, this piece is worth reading. I just would've loved 2 see this published on a site like The Root. This is about to get traffic. https://t.co/vhSbWEiFPp— Shanita Hubbard (@msshanitarenee) September 12, 2019
Thank you. I unfollowed Shaun King a while back. Profiteering off our community should be criminal.— lewoo #ImpeachInquiryNow (@FL_lewoo) September 12, 2019
DeRay McKesson does an accounting of Shaun King's grift. Again, King is a virus who undermines good people by taking advantage of their good nature and want to make the world they see a better place.https://t.co/5o70cxZjCH— Ben (@bengoodfella) September 12, 2019
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.