We recently discussed the move by Twitter to block the tweet of sports journalist Jason Whitlock criticizing the BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors for purchasing a $1.4 million home in a secluded area of Los Angeles. A self-professed Marxist, Cullors has reportedly purchased four homes worth more than $3 million and has looked at real estate investments in places like the Bahamas. As with the censoring of a New York Post article on the Hunter Biden laptop story, Twitter was criticized for the censoring of the story and later said it was a mistake. Now, Facebook has reportedly blocked the underlying New York Post report about the controversy. In the meantime, BLM itself insists that the controversy is little more than terrorism from white supremacists.
Various conservative sites reported this week that Facebook users could not share the link to a story that shed light on Cullors’ multi-million-dollar splurge on homes. Fox News reported that “an error message appears whenever users try sharing the article on their personal Facebook page or through the Messenger app.”
Cullors has not denied the purchase or the real estate investments, including in her statement below to the controversy. The story was widely circulated because Cullors has long insisted that she and her BLM co-founder “are trained Marxists. We are super versed on, sort of, ideological theories.” She has denounced capitalism as worse than Covid-19.
Moreover, the head of New York City’s Black Lives Matter chapter called for an independent investigation into the organization’s finances in the wake of the controversy.
The New York Post and other publications reported that Cullors is eyeing expensive properties in other locations, including the Bahamas. However, I noted earlier that there is no evidence that this money came from BLM, which has reportedly raised almost $100 million in donations from corporations and other sources. Indeed, Cullors seems to have ample sources of funds. She published a best selling memoir of her life and then a follow up book. She also signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros to develop and produce original programming across all platforms, including broadcast, cable and streaming. She has also been featured in various magazines like her recent collaboration with Jane Fonda.
Cullors responded to the controversy but did not deny the underlying facts:
“This movement began as, and will always remain a love letter to Black people. Three words – Black Lives Matter – serve as a reminder to Black people that we are human and deserve to live a vibrant and full life. I worked multiple jobs across many organizations my entire life. I’m also a published author, writer, producer, professor, public speaker, and performance artist.”
She later denounced the coverage of her alleged hypocrisy as an effort to “take away from where the focus should be – ending white supremacy”.
The main issue for me is not the house or the claimed hypocrisy. It is the censorship of Twitter and now Facebook. Cullors is a public figure who is subject to public scrutiny and commentary. Twitter is rife with a such criticism over the lifestyle choices of figures on the right ranging from Donald Trump Jr. to Rand Paul. That is an unfortunate aspect of being in a high visibility position. I would be equally concerned if criticism of Trump Jr.’s big game hunting exploits or Giuliani’s lavish tastes were censored.
As stated recently in testimony before the House, I remain an unabashed “Internet Originalist,” favoring the free forum for speech that once defined these Big Tech companies. The expanding censorship of the Internet continues to show bias and contractions as politicians push for “robust modification” to silence opposing views of everything from climate change to social justice. Twitter and Facebook now actively determine what people should know and discuss on matters of public interest.
BLM however is denouncing the coverage as raw racism. In a statement, it insisted that Cullors has only made $120,000 from BLM. Once again, I see no evidence that Cullors has taken any money inappropriately from BLM. To that end, I can see why BLM would issue a strong statement to knock down any suggestions of fraud or self-dealing with BLM funds. For any such organization, suggestions of fraud can have a serious impact on corporate and individual donations. As for Cullors herself, her own corporate deals would give her ample money for these real estate investments if the story is accurate.
Yet, BLM added that the reporting about her properties “continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists.” What is odd is that the head of NY BLM was that one of those calling for an investigation and presumably it is not part of that “tradition of terror by white supremacists.”
Most of the coverage concerned the irony of Cullors investing millions in real estate given her public persona as a dedicated Marxist. Indeed, some on the left have denounced her as a hypocrite after the disclosures of her investments and homes. Cullors has told followers that “While the COVID-19 illness is tragic, what’s more tragic is capitalism.” Nevertheless, BLM called the coverage of the Cullors investments as a familiar “tactic of terror time and again, but our movement will not be silenced.”
As noted earlier, the greatest irony may not be the home purchase but the corporate support. A professed Marxist, Cullors has not only been paid handsomely by corporations like Warner Brothers but is being actively protected by corporations like Twitter and now Facebook in blocking the underlying story.