Shaun King’s fundraising called into question again in exposé report

Former employees say that King's downfall is related to 'his absenteeism, insistence on absolute control, and radical incompetence'

Shaun King
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Activist Shaun King is the subject of a lengthy report from The Daily Beast published last night, May 25.

The lengthy exposé is entitled, “Shaun King Keeps Raising Money, and Questions About Where It Goes.”

READ MORE: Rachel Maddow calls out Shaun King over Bernie Sanders tweet

The heavily-researched article interviewed seven former employees who had been hired to work with King at The North Star, the reboot of the newspaper by the same name created by Frederick Douglass

In 2018, King and progressive journalist Benjamin Dixon relaunched The North Star with the support of celebrities and tens of thousands of subscribers. 

The site pledged to build multiple studios and offices. It also said it would be hiring nearly 50 world-class journalists and staffers. The Daily Beast printed quotes from King’s fundraising letter where he promised, “We are going to be launching a full news website, an iPhone & Android app, four brand new podcasts, online video news broadcasts, and so much more. We are building The North Star together.”

But as The Daily Beast wrote, that goal was not accomplished. 

Many of those who were interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity. One person who contributed to the exposé by name was Shaun King himself, submitting a lengthy statement.

Giving context to the failed efforts, King stated that the downfall was his own “overzealousness” and “his tendency to take on too much, too soon.” 

However, the article contends that former employees chalked the demise up not to his over-ambition, but rather, “his absenteeism, insistence on absolute control, and radical incompetence.” 

The article notes that while no criminal or civil charges have ever been filed against King, the hashtag #ShaunKingLetMeDown recurs with some regularity. The tag has been used to highlight some of the many projects, other than The North Star, for which King has raised money, but never completed. 

The Daily Beast article did not only criticize the journalist but lifted examples of how his work is transformative and important to various civil rights cases. They noted that his work researching and tweeting about the Ahmaud Arbery case, may have helped move the needle in getting the case over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. 

Still, despite giving nods to his strengths, the article contends that integrity must be at the forefront of his work. The writer says that he owes his supporters and his detractors an explanation of what he has done with the millions of dollars he has raised. 

His detractors are many and this article supports some of the things that they have alleged for years.

Activist and attorney, Imani Gandy, a critic of King accused him of “selling wokeness to white people.”

In response to the piece, DeRay McKesson, another King critic, wrote on Twitter that the activist should “Immediately & publicly release all former North Star staff from NDAs w/ no penalty” and “Stop soliciting funds altogether, immediately.”

READ MORE: How the Shaun King/DeRay Mckesson beef leaves us not knowing what to think

As for his Twitter feed today, King has not immediately responded to the article. Instead, he posted that his mother is ill. Pinning the tweet to the top of his page, he writes that he is rushing off to be by her bedside, saying, “I’ll reply when I can. So much blatant misinformation.”

He has also posted several tweets about George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who was killed by police