You know it’s bad when the article denouncing him says “But the person who paints your house before he steals your car has still committed theft.”
The ‘cancel culture’ has just turned on one of its own, and has consumed Shaun King.
DeRay Mckesson has written an open letter denouncing Shaun King. For someone like King, who has carved out an identity (and made a mint while he did so!) as a community organizer and black activist, this must come as a heavy blow indeed.
He’s being denounced for fraud with respect to his fundraising and has been cut off from ay professional associations with the activist crowd he used to run with.
We never aim to replicate the power dynamic of the system we are up against — a system that embraces a devious lack of transparency, willingly sacrifices the vulnerable to protect itself, and replaces truth with convenient lies. Yet Shaun King has done just that.
Shaun has followed a uniform pattern over the years, a pattern that has compelled me to speak up, again. This is not the first time I have done so, and I am not alone. Johnetta Elzie and I were in a previous public disagreement with Shaun about issues of transparency and ethics that ended in his apology. Shaun also deleted all of his tweets and noted that he would focus on journalism and would not engage in attempted organizing or fundraising. Importantly, he made this commitment to others both publicly and privately. It is clear now that he did not keep those commitments and after a brief hiatus, re-emerged and began engaging in the same behaviors that caused the last public conflict.
It is important to note that Shaun’s journalism has done some good by bringing attention to stories that may have gone under-reported or overlooked. But the person who paints your house before he steals your car has still committed theft.
This is also not a demand or desire for purity, the mythical status of flawlessness that does not exist. Integrity, on the flip side, means that we model relationships rooted in trust, consistency of values, and a demonstrated willingness to grow.
I tried previously to engage offline to resolve these tensions, but his behaviors did not change. 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.
But he does not often answer any of the questions or offer any resolution of contradictions raised, but instead, deflects. What’s more, he often bullies and intimidates those who ask questions at all, turning his ire especially at Black women, attempting to scare inquirers into silence.
A blow-by-blow of Shaun’s various infractions and accusations of fraudulent accounting practices with respect to his fundraising and community organizing can be found on the letter he posted to Medium but among all the rest, one thing in particular stands out. Does THIS sound at all familiar?
1. When people disagreed, they were removed from the group or it was stated that they were white supremacists or trolls.
Then, two former classmates of mine reached out to me separately, that I did not know were in chapters of Justice Together. They relayed similar concerns and also asked me where was the money going that had been raised. When I asked Shaun, he again dismissed the concerns as those coming from trolls. I told him that I would be stepping down from the board. Concerned members of Justice Together began e-mailing board members directly which created a board-wide e-mail thread where it became apparent that no board member knew about the financials of the organization.
In a situation where Shaun King has been outed for wrongdoing, the same memo that outlines his wrongdoing in significant detail, what did the guy who was (we are told) ducking responsibility for his own failings offer as his standard defense?
They are just trolls, or they are white supremacists.
Doesn’t that sound like something that could drop from the lips of fully half of the current crop of elected Democrats, or 2020 Presidential hopefuls?
As for the Integrity thing… we’re not really surprised by that. He was kind of a ready-fire-aim kind of guy from the beginning and has been called out on a lot of sketchy things. Not the least of which is his own claim to his ethnicity.