Kailee Scales, managing director for Black Lives Matter Network Action Fund and Black Lives Matter Global Network, Inc., has been universally panned for her performance in an online Q&A where she dodged simple questions about where donations to the movement actually go.
Scales was the subject of an “AMA” or “Ask Me Anything” discussion on Reddit Monday. Over the course of 17 total answers, she explained the group’s advocacy for defunding police departments and addressed issues of crime, violence, and the Wuhan coronavirus as they relate to Black Lives Matter protests. However, the reactions to many of her posts were overwhelmingly negative, with users complaining about vague and tone-deaf answers to basic questions.
— Kailee Scales (@KaileeScales) June 8, 2020
Finances was one particular focus of Scales’ critics. Black Lives Matter has been the recipient of millions of dollars in the past few weeks, as a string of corporations and celebrities announced massive donations for her organization to establish social justice bona fides for themselves. “Obviously right now BLM is getting MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars in donations,” asked one Reddit user. “Where is all the money going and how is it allocated?”
“Yeah, I would love to see a report about the amount of donations and for what it was used. Without this, the organization only uses the BLM name tag to get donations,” another said in the ensuing discussion thread.
Scales ignored these messages but eventually answered a question on the same topic. It did not go over well.
“When people give money to Black Lives Matter, where specifically does it go?” one user asked. “What’s financial transparency like for your organization?”
Scales gave a terse, generic reply. “Hi — great question. Right now, our programs are focused on civic engagement, expansion of chapters, Arts & Culture, organizing and digital advocacy resources and tools,” she said. “Please visit our website and subscribe to blacklivesmatter.com for updates and more information to come!”
This response did not satisfy the Q&A participants, who signaled their disapproval by “downvoting” Scales’ reply. Her post currently has -1163 net votes. The top comment on that thread asked: “Why don’t you post actual links to where the funding goes? This is not an answer.” Several Redditors then tried looking up tax information for the foundation, questioning whether it is even a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Scales also received copious criticism and downvotes on the topic of antisemitism, offering only a rote denunciation of “hate speech or bias of any kind.” One user gave specific examples of alleged antisemitism in the movement, asking how BLM will fight bigotry within its own ranks:
Your organization has been accused of anti-semitism both by its members, it’s alliances, and its reverence for avowed Jew haters. For example, the myth that Jews were particularly involved in the slave trade seems to be particularly pervasive and pernicious, and is entirely fabricated by the Nation of Islam. Jews on the streets of Brooklyn have been repeatedly targetted by black citizens in violent crimes. BLM has turned a blind eye to antisemitism in its support of the Palestinian cause, a cause in no way related to black equality in the United States.
It should be obvious that equality for blacks people cannot be achieved through bigotry and subjugation of another oppressed group.
What are you doing to fight bigotry within BLM?
Scales flatly denied any problems with Jew hatred in the movement: “I am not sure where you receive your information, but BLM is a political home for all those marginalized, invisible, and oppressed by the dominant culture,” she said. “We do not support or express hate speech or bias of any kind.” That post currently stands at nearly -800 net votes.
“Not surprised at all by their non-answer,” one reply stated. “I support the protests, police reform, and especially black lives. But if the organization can’t even disavow the many anti-Semitic statements and dog whistles it puts out, there needs to be a better group leading this righteous cause.”
The most-upvoted comment in the entire discussion summarized frustrations with Scales’ evasive answers: “As a Black woman, I’m really disappointed… this AMA has really colored me to BLM as not having themselves together with hard and fast facts,” one user wrote. “I’m done reading this AMA because it’s not [answers about anything]. It’s a lot of reposting and saying going to BLM website.”
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.