Controversial social activist Shaun King wants his name cleared, and he’s trying his best to do so.
Hitting back at those speculating his activism is a means to pad his pockets, King took to social media to share a purported statement from crowdfunding site GoFundMe to prove he’s no thief.
Kings’s caption for the post was laced with snark as he sent a clear message to his critics. “I bet this won’t go viral. The truth never does. It should, but people prefer lies. Today, after years of people lying and saying I was stealing money from GoFundMe’s for families impacted by police violence, the legal and safety team @GoFundMe released their official statement.”
The statement, purportedly sent from the site’s Trust & Safety Department, does two things: One, attempts to reassure users GoFundMe’s team diligently works to ensure that funds raised on the platform reach the intended receiver. Two, the statement addresses King’s history on the platform:
“Mr. King has not organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe.
Mr.King has not been the beneficiary of a GoFundMe.
Mr.King has not withdrawn any funds on GoFundMe.”
King is often accused of financially benefiting from fundraisers setup to help families, such as that of Tamir Rice, and criticized for using the names and images of police violence victims without consent to further his activism platform. The father of four went on to say that GoFundMe’s investigation included a decade of his history, including fundraisers he shared on social and his email accounts.
“And what they found is what I’ve aid for YEARS, no family has ever even reported to them that I’ve done any such thing [stolen funds].” He continued by pointing out claims of him stealing funds from the families of Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Philando Castille were all unfounded.
“The whole thing has been so damn shameful,” he wrote. He then went on to blast specific individuals who he felt helped fuel the narrative of him being a grifter.
On social the reactions to his post were harsh, with many doubting the credibility of the purported GoFundMe statement. Some people shared old posts to prove “King is s full of s—t” and discrediting his “proof” of innocence.
Another person suggested King’s name couldn’t possibly be cleared from that one post because “It explains absolutely nothing about all the issues raised around his fundraising.”
One individual suggested King’s name may have been cleared by GoFundMe, but it does little to prove he does use a different platform to funnel money to himself.
Tamir, who is Black, was only 12 when he was fatally shot in 2014 by a Cleveland cop who believed he was in possession of a firearm — the perceived threat was actually a toy replica of a gun. As his death gained national notoriety so did the public protests against police brutality. King is among the activists who stand in the forefront of the fight for police accountability, although his involvement with the cause has grown problematic in recent years.
Samaria Rice, the slain teen’s mother, has publicly called out King, as well as activist Tamika Mallory, for not providing real help to families. “All of the families should be getting therapy, and all of them should be getting the tools to speak for themselves, not have people speak for them,” Rice said to New York Magazine this year.
Rice further accused King of directly profiting from her son’s death. She also slammed King for posting a column to The North Star attempting to prove not only had he reached out to Rice, but also attempted to make amends for any offense he’d caused in the fight for Tamir’s justice. Rice instead viewed the public airing of their private conversation as yet another means of King satisfying a savior complex.
“Why do you think its so important to tell folks we had a conversation? Well we talked and everything that was said was very toxic and uncomfortable fo me to hear that you raised additional money and the say you did not want to bother me,” Rice wrote on a post shared to Instagram. She continued, “Personally I don’t understand how you sleep at night. I never gave permission to raise noting. Along with the United States, you robbed me for the death of my son.”
But even with the never-ending supply of criticism against King bleeding across blogs and social media, they activist does still have supporters refusing to believe accusations.