Quelle surprise! Actually, the source here is surprise enough, or perhaps better put, a measure of just how little the usual tactics of slinging accusations of racism at critics matter. HuffPo’s Stephen Crockett castigates Black Lives Matter’s national organization as a corrupt racket, somewhat belatedly as Crockett himself pointed out on Friday:
There have been stories, several of them, wondering where all of the donations have gone. In 2020 after George Floyd’s death shook the nation to its core, the Black Lives Matter foundation took in $90 million. There have been questions surrounding what the money was spent on, if anything, and how that helps the community the organization has mined.
And then there was a bombshell dropped earlier this week that the foundation took some $6 million of donation money to secretly buy a mansion. And not just any mansion: a spread in Southern California with “more than 6,500 square feet, more than half a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, several fireplaces, a soundstage, a pool and bungalow, and parking for more than 20 cars,” according to New York Magazine, which broke the news. Because everyone knows that the Movement for Black Lives — a movement that rose to prominence on the deaths of unarmed Black men, women and children by police — needs multiple fireplaces.
This latest news comes after a 2021 report that Cullors purchased four homes throughout the U.S. for some $3.2 million. Cullors would later announce that she was stepping down from her position at the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Crockett notes that complaints about BLM’s exploitation goes back as far as Ferguson in 2014, where the national leaders raised tons of money and spent little if any of it on that community. The late Darren Seals had warned repeatedly that the BLM activists “don’t do s*** but tweet,” including in this lengthy 2016 video. So what took so long to catch up? Crockett chalks it up to a lack of accountability created by a race-card shield that BLM’s activists used, and eventually exhausted:
What is telling here is that somewhere between the fight for Black lives and the pull of celebrity, things changed, lines got crossed, and accountability and transparency got skewed. In a lengthy Instagram post, Cullors argues that the magazine’s reporting on the purchase of a secret mansion is both “sexist” and “racist,” but she doesn’t explain how. This is actually a common refrain from the former foundation head whenever confronted with questions about finances, or really anything for that matter, and it works like this: You either fully accept everything happening within the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which apparently includes filming a cooking show using the mansion’s kitchen, or you are a tool of white supremacy being used to shut down one of the largest Black organizations fighting for Black life.
Let’s keep in mind that BLM exists in two levels, a point that Crockett himself takes pains to make, two that are apparently entirely separate. Local chapters of BLM raise money locally and spend it locally, usually in much smaller amounts and with at least some promise of local accountability. They also appear to have little contact with Cullors et al, especially when it comes to benefiting from the latter’s fundraising.
The national foundation on which Crockett focuses here is different. It raises much more money thanks to its rapid embrace in the days after Ferguson and especially after the George Floyd homicide in the Twin Cities. Because of their PR and the unquestioning approach of politicians and celebrities, the national org soaks up almost all of the donors without any accountability. This has been noted for quite a while, both from local activists like Seals and its critics, but largely ignored by the mainstream and progressive media circles.
Until now, that is. With the scandalous self-enrichment at BLM finally exposed, it’s very difficult to ignore the obvious lessons it provides. Kudos to Crockett and HuffPo for not just covering the scandal (belatedly, anyway) but also calling out the demagoguery BLM employed to shield its corrupt operations. Will other media outlets do the same?
Update: Via Twitchy, it looks like Crockett’s essay has provoked a response from BLM. Suddenly, transparency isn’t white supremacy:
BLMGNF is working diligently to increase operations transparency, including an internal audit, tightening compliance operations, and creating a new board to help steer the organization to its next evolution.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) April 11, 2022
Suuuuuuure. Why didn’t they take this action in January when New Yorker first called them out, or when Seals was trying to draw attention to it seven or more years ago?