BLM Responds To Controversy Around Patrisse Cullors, Says She Works With Organization In ‘Volunteer Capacity’
The organization released its financial documents earlier this year.
April 13, 2021 at 1:35 pm
In a statement to Blavity, the organization said Cullors has been subjected to a false and defamatory article being amplified by right-wing media.
“Patrisse Cullors is the Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF). She serves in this role in a volunteer capacity and does not receive a salary or benefits," Black Lives Matter stated. "Patrisse has received a total of $120,000 since the organization’s inception in 2013, for duties such as serving as spokesperson and engaging in political education work. Patrisse did not receive any compensation after 2019."
The New York Post reported on Saturday that Cullors had allegedly bought four high-end homes for $3.2 million. The article launched a number of other accusations, including one stating that the activist sought property in the Bahamas at an ultra-exclusive resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods have homes.
Black Lives Matter, however, denies the accusations.
"To be abundantly clear, as a registered 501c3, BLMGNF cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer," the statement read. "Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false."
As Blavity previously reported, the organization released its financial documents earlier this year and revealed how much it raised for the movement in 2020. According to the documents shared with the Associated Press, the national Black Lives Matter organization raised more than $90 million and spent about $8.4 million in total expenses in 2020, a year that marked a significant juncture in the fight for equality. The financial records also reveal that a large portion of the donations came from the organization's main fundraising platform.
"This has been a record-breaking year for fundraising, which has been matched with just as historic an amount in campaign budgets and grant disbursements," the foundation wrote, according to CNN.
The group fears that the latest accusations will continue to fuel hate groups and endanger Cullors' life.
"The narratives being spread about Patrisse have been generated by right-wing forces intent on reducing the support and influence of a movement that is larger than any one organization," the statement read.
"This right-wing offensive not only puts Patrisse, her child and her loved ones in harm’s way, it also continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists," the foundation stated. "All Black activists know the fear these malicious and serious actions are meant to instill: the fear of being silenced, the trauma of being targeted, the torture of feeling one’s family is exposed to danger just for speaking out against unjust systems."
In the years since its inception, Black Lives Matter has been publicly pressured to be more transparent about its finances.
“Because the BLM movement was larger than life — and it is larger than life — people made very huge assumptions about what our actual finances looked like,” Cullors said earlier this year. “We were often scraping for money, and this year was the first year where we were resourced in the way we deserved to be.”
"Patrisse’s work for Black people over the years has made her and others who align with the fight for Black liberation targets of racist violence," the organization stated. "We have seen this tactic of terror time and again, but our movement will not be silenced.”