US

Black Lives Matter Activists GO AT IT Over Defunct Charity

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

A massive rift appeared Sunday in the Black Lives Matter movement, when two of its most high-profile activists went at it on Twitter.

The beef appears to center on New York Daily News columnist Shaun King’s defunct social justice charity, Justice Together. Deray McKesson, a prominent grassroots activist who sat on Justice Together’s board of directors, took King to task for blocking him on Twitter when he asked about the group’s planning and financing.

Following a Daily Caller expose last month, King announced that he was shutting down Justice Together and returning donations given to it and another similar group he founded last year called Justice That’s All. (RELATED: Charities Touted By Shaun King Appear To Never Have Existed)

McKesson claimed he was caught off guard by the move. And dismayed that King refused to answer his questions, McKesson said that he no longer trusts the columnist-activist and now doubts his integrity.

TheDC’s report last month was based on a group of Justice Together and Justice That’s All volunteers who were upset that their hours of work was unilaterally scuttled by King when they asked questions about donations and expenses. While Justice Together was properly registered as a tax-exempt organization with the IRS and with the state of Georgia, Justice That’s All was not. That’s despite King’s claim to some volunteers that he was using donations to pay for a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) designation with the IRS.

In addition, TheDC found that King had stated in several interviews in 2013 that a social media company he co-founded would be giving a portion of its revenues to an affiliated nonprofit. But the company’s CEO told TheDC that the charity was never actually set up.

King responded to that report and other accusations of malfeasance with a new website called ShaunKingTruth.com in which he accused “white supremacists and conservatives” of attacking him because of his activist work.

But that theory was obliterated Sunday with McKesson’s tweet storm.

While noting that he had been King’s “biggest defender,” McKesson said that he could not overlook questions about how the the columnist managed the organizations he started.

McKesson also said that many of Justice Together’s former board members had similar questions about King’s work. McKesson stepped down last month, just after King scaled back Justice Together’s activities. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, actress Gabrielle Union, and other activists and celebrities had been on the group’s board as well.

McKesson also indicated that King’s integrity has been harmed and that he no longer trusts him.

McKesson said that when called King, he was redirected to voicemail.

It is not entirely clear what touched off McKesson’s critical tweets, but King had taken an apparent dig at McKesson on his own Twitter account.

Both McKesson and King rose to prominence following last year’s shooting of Michael Brown, though the activists used different strategies to get their message out. Whereas McKesson worked at the grassroots level, organizing protests in various cities, King’s activism largely occurred on Twitter and Facebook. He eventually parlayed his massive social media following into a blogging job at the left-wing website Daily Kos. He moved to the New York Daily News in October.

McKesson’s work, on the other hand, has taken a political turn. The 30-year-old activist has met with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to discuss police brutality and race. He’s also visited the White House and met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

McKesson took issue with King’s veiled criticism of his work in the political sphere.

Another prominent Black Lives Matter activist, Johnetta Elzie, joined in the fracas in defense of McKesson. She said that after Justice Together fell apart, the group’s board members messaged her privately to complain about King.

Elzie also indicated that she has been warned about King’s other dealings. Prior to his career as an activist, King started several social media companies and worked as a pastor. He also founded charities called A Home in Haiti and HopeMob.

King’s resume is littered with numerous other inconsistencies.

TheDC reported in July that King’s claim that he was the target of a racial hate crime as a high school student in Kentucky in 1995 was not backed up by a police report from the incident or by the detective who worked the case. One student took responsibility for beating up King and said he did so because of an incident involving a girl. (RELATED: Leading Ferguson Activist’s Hate Crime Claim Not Backed Up By Police Report, Detective)

And while King recently went on a racist tirade in which he claimed that white men who like guns are compensating for “small penises,” TheDC discovered that King was fired from his job as a resident director at Morehouse College in 2006 because he brandished a gun while trying to drive his car through a crowded campus block party. (RELATED: Shaun King Was Fired From Morehouse College Because He Brandished A Gun)

Follow Chuck on Twitter