Activist and journalist Shaun King has received harsh criticism from Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, who called out his fellow activist for a “lapse in integrity” concerning fundraising tactics and leadership style. Mckesson also called out King for spreading fake news and “misstating facts.”
In a lengthy blog post on Medium, Mckesson cited a “lack of transparency” on King’s funding, adding that “those who attempt to lead but consistently demonstrate that they cannot effectively lead should stop. We have reached that point with Shaun.”
Mckesson lays into King by recounting his experience as a board member of Justice Together, which King created in 2014, focused on ending police violence.
“Shortly after the launch phase, I began to get emails from volunteers/members, who expressed a range of concerns about Shaun’s leadership,” McKesson writes. They included claims that dissenters were silenced within the organization’s slack groups or removed wholesale when they disagreed or challenged him, as well as slow or no communication regarding plans.
“I forwarded the specific concerns to him so that he could address them. He told me he’d addressed the concerns and largely dismissed them as little more than the opinions of disgruntled volunteers or trolls who had infiltrated the groups.”
Mckesson also alleges that fundraising remains murky for the group, saying that it remains unclear how much the group raised and spent. In addition, he claims that it remains unclear if taxes were ever filed for Justice Together.
King’s leadership style began troubling members of the organization, which allegedly led the dissolution of the board.
“Shaun unilaterally disbanded the Justice Together board in the midst of questions being asked by the board,” Mckesson claims.
In a section titled “Silencing Others/Misstating Facts,” Mckesson includes examples of King spreading fake news:
Sherita Cole Dixon, pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety Officer, claimed that an officer raped her. Shaun, through his column, helped to turn this into a national story.
When the police department released the body camera footage, it was concluded that she was not the victim of a rape. Shaun, and his lawyer, Lee Merrit, released a statement apologizing.
The allegations represent the latest woes for King, who has been dogged with accusations of shady fundraising techniques.
Mckesson said he has tried to resolve his issues with King offline to little avail.
“There is a formula that he employs when people ask questions or highlight contradictions: issue an unconditional denial, attack the character of the person asking questions, argue that white supremacists are attacking him or his family, respond only to the least salient of all points raised, then issue a statement akin to an apology,” said McKesson.
Following Mckesson’s post, King was trending on Twitter in the United States.