Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors claimed new allegations involving the purchase of a nearly $6 million mansion are rooted in racism and sexism.
What is the background?
New York magazine reported this week that BLM "secretly bought a $6 million house" in southern California in October 2020 using funds donated to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
According to the report, BLM leadership hoped to keep the luxury property's existence a secret.
In fact, documents reviewed by New York magazine suggested the "property’s purchase and day-to-day operation suggest that it has been handled in ways that blur, or cross, boundaries between the charity and private companies owned by some of its leaders."
Black Lives Matter revealed last year that it received more than $90 million in 2020.
How did Cullors respond?
In an Instagram post, Cullors claimed on Wednesday that "what’s happening to me and to our movement is both racist and sexist."
"This is bigger than me. It's about a long history of attacking black people and black women specifically, creating unsafe conditions for us and our families, scrutinizing our every move publicly and privately in ways that are unfair and unjust," she claimed. "It's dangerous, and we should all be trying to stop it, interrupt it, protest it."
In a lengthy statement, Cullors called the New York magazine story a "despicable abuse of a platform that’s intended to provide truthful information to the public."
Cullors claimed the reporter behind the story — Sean Campbell, who is black — has a "very public bias" against her and other "black leaders." She said the story is filled with "misinformation" and "innuendo and incendiary opinions." However, Cullors failed to provide concrete evidence confirming her claims.
For instance, Cullors said the home was purchased to be a space where BLM activists "could work, create content, host meetings and foster creativity."
However, Campbell noted in his story that after he contacted BLM last month for comment on his forthcoming story, leaders began discussing internally how to frame the purchase of the home. They discussed explaining its purpose as an "influencer house" or as a "safehouse."
The day after a BLMGNF board member responded to Campbell, the organization released a statement framing the house as a place "for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship." But, as Campbell observed, the a BLMGNF board member did not explain "why, if the house was primarily intended to be a creative space, relatively little content has been produced there over the course of 17 months."
Meanwhile, Cullors denied having "misappropriated funds" and repeatedly emphasized that she left BLMGNF last year. She claimed the truth about BLMGNF "will soon be made clear" upon the release of financial disclosure documents required of tax-exempt organizations. The organization has not disclosed finances pertaining to 2020 or 2021.
Finally calling the New York magazine story "hateful and erroneous content," Cullors claimed that she is "living under the constant threat of white supremacist terror and real threats on my life and those of people I love."