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Controversial activist Shaun King has been having a rough go of it ever since he publicly announced that he and his wife converting to Islam right at the start of Ramadan “in solidarity with Palestine,” which many people perceived as an opportunistic grift from an activist with an unfortunate reputation for alleged opportunistic grifting. (Basically, if King wanted people to stop calling him “Talcum X,” converting to Islam was exactly the opposite move to aid his cause.)

King was recently booked as a keynote speaker for a Minneapolis fundraising dinner organized by a local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. But that invitation has just been rescinded by CAIR in response to the community backlash that erupted after the event was made public.

From the Daily Beast:

On Thursday morning, the Minnesota chapter of CAIR announced that it had engaged the “Civil Rights Icon” King as keynote speaker to its annual Ramadan fundraiser this weekend. “Known for his passionate advocacy and having been de-platformed from social media sites like Instagram for his efforts to speak up for Gaza, his address promises to be a highlight of an unforgettable evening,” the organization said in an email to supporters.

The immediate blowback was fierce, with social media users crowding the group’s replies to warn that King was “a prolific scam artist” and that CAIR would be “tainted by association.” The Racket, an alt-news site covering the Twin Cities, picked the story up and included it in its daily newsletter. “CAIR, What Are You Thinking?” its headline read.

To be fair, Shaun King has been very vocal since early on in Israel’s invasion of Gaza in its war against Hamas. Still, changing religions and making a public show of it right at the start of Ramadan is going to feel like an absurdly transparent PR move, especially to people who have already been questioning his motives, his Blackness, his finances and the fact that he can’t seem to fart in the wind without asking his followers for donations to aid him on his journey. (I mean, he even needed his supporters to pass the bucket just so he could move from one “lavish” home to another.)

Anyway, last week, people on social media started sharing screenshots that appeared to show King responding to his many accusers by soliciting on LinkedIn for “a robust pro-bono legal team to work on defamation cases of people promoting complete fabrications about me.”

King has often dealt with what he calls “libel and slander” against him by threatening litigation, but if he really expects a team of elite lawyers to work around the clock for free to protect him from those who would form their verbal weapons against him, he really must have an inflated sense of self, and, again, he’s not doing himself any favors if he’s trying to shed his reputation as a scammer.

Perhaps losing his CAIR invite should be the least of his worries.


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