Why did Patrisse Khan-Cullors resign? BLM co-founder slams 'right-wing attacks' amid $3M real estate row
Black Lives Matter executive director Patrisse Khan-Cullors quit the foundation soon after she came under fire for her $3M housing portfolio reveal
Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, is stepping down as the organization's executive director after a dispute over her $3 million property holdings. Cullors, who has led the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for nearly six years, made the announcement on Thursday, May 27.
While she denounced a far-right smear campaign, she said that neither that nor recent criticism from other Black organizers influenced her decision to leave. According to The Associated Press, the 37-year-old campaigner is quitting to focus on other projects. One of them includes the release of her second book and a multi-year TV development agreement with Warner Bros, the Daily Mail reported. Her last day with the foundation is Friday.
"I've created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave," Cullors said. "It feels like the time is right." Monifa Bandele, a longtime BLM organizer and founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in New York City, and Makani Themba, an early backer of the BLM movement and chief strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies in Jackson, Mississippi, are joining the foundation as interim senior executives to help steer it in the near future.
Why did Patrisse Cullors resign?
Her departure, however, comes after it was revealed last month that despite describing herself as a "trained Marxist", she has amassed a $3M property portfolio. Cullors received a great deal of backlash after it was revealed that she spent a lot of money on herself, including buying a $1.4M home in a posh Los Angeles neighborhood. Many people were left wondering what percentage of BLM donations went to social justice programs.
She, however, claims that her resignation has been in the works for over a year and has nothing to do with the personal attacks she has been subjected to. "Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don't operate off of what the right thinks about me," Cullors told Associated Press.
'Racist, sexist' smears
She described the criticism as "racist and sexist" smears spread by the "right-wing media" last month. Conservatives weren't the only ones, however, who questioned Cullors about her finances. After revelations about the property portfolio surfaced, the head of the BLM chapter in New York City called for an independent investigation into the organization's finances.
"If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes," BLM organizer Hawk Newsome told New York Post. "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."
$10,000 'meetings and appearances'
Meanwhile, it was revealed that Cullors' jail reform activist group spent $26,000 at a luxury Malibu resort for meetings and 'appearances'. Between July and September 2019, Reform LA Jails paid $10,179 for "meetings and appearances" at Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club, and another $15,593 at the resort's Malibu Conference Center. Guests at the 200-acre resort have access to a private five-acre beach on the Malibu coast and a single night in a two-bedroom 'cozy ranch chic' suite that cost $1,200 in July.
Former Fox host Megyn Kelly tweeted after the spending was revealed by Daily Caller: "BLM must stand for... Babes Lounging in Malibu? Do you have a lot of cash? 'Marxism's Outright Lies?"
BLM must stand for ... Babes Lounging in Malibu? Big Loads of Money? Blatant Lies about Marxism?— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) April 27, 2021