Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Resigns Following Criticism Over Her Lavish Lifestyle
Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, has stepped down from her role as executive director following controversy surrounding her allegedly lavish lifestyle.
The 37-year-old announced the news of her resignation yesterday, May 27, before completing her last day at the organisation today.
She has said her decision to step down from her position with Black Lives Matter is unrelated to what she described as ‘right-wing attacks that tried to discredit [her] character,’ and criticism from other Black activists, maintaining instead that she is going to focus on her upcoming second book and TV development deal with Warner Bros.
The announcement comes after Cullors faced criticism for buying four ‘high-end’ homes in the US, which are reportedly worth $3.2 million dollars according to property records cited by the New York Post.
When news of the purchases came to light, Hawk Newsome, the head of a separate organisation, Black Lives Matter Greater New York City, called for an ‘independent investigation’ as to how Cullors’ group spends its money.
At the time, Newsome commented:
If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes. It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it’s the people that carry this movement.
Cullors has denied the accusations, slamming them as ‘categorically untrue and incredibly dangerous,’ and telling AP News: ‘Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me.’
In a statement regarding the controversy, the Black Lives Matter Foundation said:
As a registered 501c3 non-profit organisation, [the foundation] cannot and did not commit any organisational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer. Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.
Further criticism came after the Black Lives Matter Foundation announced in February that it had raised £63 million amid protests following the murder of George Floyd, and that it spent a quarter of its assets on grants to several Black-led organisations as well as on operating expenses.
In response to the news, critics have said more money should have gone to the families of Black victims who have been killed at the hands of police.
Cullors said she had been planning her exit from the Black Lives Matter group for almost a year, commenting: ‘I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation so that I can leave. It feels like the time is right.’
In a press release, Black Lives Matter credited Cullors with helping the group support and showcase Black artists and cultural influencers, increasing voter participation and turnout and donating almost $25 million to Black-led organisations and Black families around the country.
Two senior executives, Makani Themba and Monifa Bandele, will be stepping forward to support the Black Lives Matter group following Cullors’ departure.
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