But seven former employees of The North Star—three of whom spoke anonymously out of fear of reprisal by King, and six of whom were told they had to sign non-disclosure agreements to receive severances—said the issue was less King’s over-ambition than his absenteeism, insistence on absolute control, and radical incompetence. They said he had little interest in feedback from staffers he had ostensibly brought on for their lengthy résumés and media experience, despite his own lack of the same. Two iterations of broadcast news shows were scrapped, and their staffs and hosts fired, before they ever aired, and Dixon was pushed out even as money poured in and the site remained underpopulated…

The announcement of the new crowdfunding campaign revived rumors that have swirled on social media since it first launched that The North Star is more of a money-making maneuver than the “fully independent, unbought, unbossed media company focused on freedom” King had promised.

It has also fueled long-standing accusations—primarily lodged by black women and queer folks, nearly all of whom are his former co-organizers, colleagues, employees and supporters—that King has inflated, mismanaged or failed to account for funds he’s raised for various social justice causes.

While it should be noted that no criminal or civil charges have ever been filed against King, the story—in the words of former employees of The North Star—was one of “self sabotage” by him, and “really shady fucking business” with “a liar & a fraud.”