The growing chorus of people outwardly questioning the integrity of activist Shaun King has expanded to activist DeRay McKesson, the former school administrator who vaulted to fame after the Ferguson, Mo., protests.
In a piece shared Thursday on Medium, McKesson chastised his fellow activist for engaging in a pattern of fundraising and activism that raises questions of fraud, attacks the questioners, blames white supremacists for any confusion and then issues an apology and a promise to stick to only journalism.
He lamented that Black women are frequently the targets of King, once a columnist with the New York Daily News who also rose to fame after participating in the Ferguson protests. Activists questioned the death of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer, taking to the streets for days.
McKesson wrote that he penned the piece “to address a lapse in integrity within the activism community so glaring that to be silent is to be complicit.”
In the piece, McKesson outlines details of several King fundraising efforts: Among them:
- The North Star national Black news outlet that issued a soft launch in November 2018. Thousands are paying monthly, but daily programming has not emerged, as promised, McKesson writes. Several staffers were hired then laid off. The organization was named for the newspaper that abolitionist Frederick Douglass ran from an office in Rochester, N.Y.
- In 2011, King began raising money to climb seven mountains, then quit after four days, according to McKesson. The activist cited the Twitter thread of Imani Gandy that outlines the alleged discrepancies.
- In December 2016, McKesson writes that King began fundraising for The InJustice Boycott, an effort to boycott cities that engaged in discriminatory practices. The launch took place on the 61st anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. To date, the effort has led no boycotts or impacts, McKesson wrote.
“It is important to note that Shaun’s journalism has done some good by bringing attention to stories that may have gone underreported or overlooked,” McKesson wrote. “But the person who paints your house before he steals your car has still committed theft.”
In possible response to the Medium piece, King tweeted very early Friday that anyone who is on the fence about him should, “Please cancel me. Hate me. Hate my work. Call me a scammer. Ignore my receipts. Say I lack integrity. I have a family, friends, teams, Day 1s that know the truth and aren’t swayed by the (expletive).”
I love this woman.
Everybody else that’s on the fence about me:
Please cancel me.
Hate my work.
Call me a scammer.
Ignore my receipts.
Say I lack integrity.
I have a family, friends, teams, and Day 1s that know the truth and aren’t swayed by the bullshit. pic.twitter.com/FdDrURR1Qu
— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 13, 2019
In the profile section of his Twitter account, King has posted a link to the website ShaunKingFundraisingReport.com. He says that seven experts reviewed five years of his tax returns and 10 years of his bank account records and the report is the result.