Yesterday activist Shaun King was getting slammed on social media for threatening suit people who allegedly spread lies about money he raised. After trending number one for hours, King has now responded via an open letter.
King wrote, “Listen, as we head into MLK Day, it does help me to remember that all of our leaders have endured lies and hate and slander. Knowing that in theory is one thing, but enduring it is altogether different. People tell so many lies about me online – that it has just become a daily part of my life to endure them and push through, but a few months ago, we started noticing that some of the lies were not just out of hand, and outrageous, but that they were actually doing real damage to my reputation and livelihood.”
He claimed speaking engagements have been cancelled, colleagues have confronted and “families affected by police brutality are calling me in tears because people are telling them these lies.”
King then addressed three things he was accused of. On Jan. 7 activist Clarissa Brooks tweeted, “Are folks going to hold Shaun King accountable to money he ‘raised’ for Cyntoia? Or is that going to disappear as well…” Brooks deleted the tweet after she read King was suing people for tweeting about him. However, on Wednesday (Jan. 17), she received an email from King, which included his attorneys Benjamin Crump and Lee Merritt that threatened legal action if she didn’t apologize publicly and respond to “King’s satisfaction,” according to Brooks.
In the open letter, King says the Cyntoia Brown claim is a stone-cold lie, “I never even raised money for Cyntoia Brown. I don’t even know who raised money for her. I had nothing to do with any fundraisers for her. It’s all a complete fabrication.”
He also took on rumors that he received reward money for helping to find the alleged killers of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, King wrote, “I never touched a single penny we raised. It all went to a 3rd party account not managed by me, and secondly, every single penny that came in went to the tipster. All of it. What did you think we were going to do? Hold an event like this person won the lottery where we present them a big check and balloons fall from the sky? We gave the funds to them confidentially. And that is how this always happens.”
Lastly, he addressed rumors that he is making money from Facebook due to ad revenue from victims of police violence, “This has literally never happened a single day in my life. I’ve never done that. I never would. I don’t even know HOW to do this. It’s a complete fabrication. Nobody has even (sic) me do this. The person who said this literally made it up – and it went viral.”
King closed his letter by saying “truth is on my side here. I’m going to gonna keep on doing what I do, fighting for justice, fighting for families impacted by injustice, and telling the stories that nobody else is telling.” You can read the full intro, here.
See Clarissa Brooks’ lengthy statement on Twitter defending herself yesterday.
Well, let’s hope the drama is over for now and activists can get back to doing the work that really matters.