Shaun King accused of using Chadwick Boseman's death to sell books, here's a look at his past controversies

'I had a mass email pre-scheduled to go out this morning about my book. I updated the email to also mention the death of Chadwick. And I don’t regret it. At all. There’s that,' said King

                            Shaun King accused of using Chadwick Boseman's death to sell books, here's a look at his past controversies
Shaun King (Getty Images)

Civil rights activist Shaun King has drawn flak after screenshots of his latest email went viral that states the death of 'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman before promoting King’s book on August 30. It was posted by a user on Twitter where he wrote, “Shaun King is using Chadwicks' death to sell books, he claims don’t make him any money. I’m so tired of SK profiting off of Black death.” The user further wrote, “And for someone that isn’t making money on books he sure has sent A LOT of emails promoting it, trying to get it to #1.”


As soon as these screenshots floated on social media, Shaun came under immense scrutiny and criticism. He wrote on August 29, “I literally do not make a penny off of sales for my book. Nothing. Got paid a year ago to write it. I had a mass email pre-scheduled to go out this morning about my book. I updated the email to also mention the death of Chadwick. And I don’t regret it. At all. There’s that.”


Before that, he took to Facebook to write how he has not been promoting the book for profit but for “knowledge” and “power”. He wrote, “Friends,⁣ I am not here today to promote a product. I am here to promote a SOLUTION. An ANSWER. Over the past 6 years of the Black Lives Matter Movement I have traveled to 47 states - teaching, organizing, learning, and leading. ⁣And for all 6 years, everywhere I go, people ask me, 'Shaun, how do I actually use my life, my skills, my time, my energy to impact and change the world?' My book, ‘MAKE CHANGE’, is a 272-page answer to that question. It’s not an autobiography. I tell me story, of course, but it’s actually a guide to help you through this exact moment that we are in right now. ⁣The book is available at every bookstore in the country. Online and off. If you click the link in my bio you can choose Black-owned bookstores as well or go straight to ⁣I just want you to have it in this moment. I wrote it for this moment. ⁣Love and appreciate you all. He added, “PS: For the inevitable people saying I’m trying to profit off of this moment - I don’t make a dime off of the sales. I was paid a year ago to write it. This isn’t about profit. It’s about KNOWLEDGE and POWER.”

Despite his clearance on the stand that he is not cashing in on the death of Boseman, the Internet seemed to be unconvinced. Enraged users slammed King over his profiteering agendas. An infuriated user wrote, “Shaun King is using the death of Chadwick Boseman to sell his book and it is GROTESQUE. What is wrong with him? What is wrong with YOU THAT YOU KEEP SUPPORTING HIM?”


Others urged people to not support King, “I hope all the Black activists, celebrities and influencers who still support him see what Shaun King did today and I hope it's enough to finally divest from him.”


Another concurred how certain sections in Black community are “yelling” at him since years. “Black people, especially Black women, have been telling y’all about Shaun King for years. If you continue to RT or interact with his content in any way, you are not listening and you are no true ally. Don’t ask me to educate you on why. Google and Twitter are free.”


This isn’t the first time since King has been mired in controversies. Here's a look at his past controversies.

Questions on race

In August 2015, political commentator and writer for Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos questioned King's racial identity. He alleged that Black Lives Matter activist, King is being reportedly deceptive about his identity. As per NewsOne, Yiannopoulos’s article said King allegedly misled “media icon Oprah Winfrey by pretending to be biracial to qualify for an “Oprah scholarship” to historically black Morehouse College.” As per Newsone, King later revealed in an article to the explaining his mother's past relationship with a Black man.

“I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man," wrote King.

Sherita Dixon-Cole

In 2018, King talked about the false allegations that Sherita Dixon-Cole made against a Texas trooper. In May 2018, Grapevine, Texas, a woman named Sherita Dixon Cole accused a Texas Department of Public Safety state trooper of sexually assaulting her and making a veiled threat to shoot her fiancé during a traffic stop. However, the trooper’s body camera footage later totally contradicted Dixon Cole’s claims, reported Mic. As per KWTX web portal, after the allegations, King posted on Twitter in support of Cole. He said that although Dixon-Cole passed field sobriety tests, she was arrested because the trooper "didn't like her attitude." However, after knowing the reality he deleted the Twitter post and wrote in a Medium blog post, “Earlier today I was able to review nearly two hours of body camera footage provided by the police department. The footage appears to be authentic and trustworthy. At no time does it show any of the horrible allegations originally made by Sherita Dixon-Cole. The officer never threatens her or her fiancé as she described. No sexual assault of any kind takes place.”

He tweeted later unraveling his change in stand but by that time, he had already been drawn into the controversy. “When the 'victim' you fought for turns out to be the victimizer: Sherita Dixon-Cole and the painful consequences of a false report of sexual assault and police misconduct. My open thoughts,” he said.


Fundraising row

As per Buzz Feed, King has been accused of raising funds that were never received by the beneficiaries for whom the activist was campaigning for. Complex, a website, reported that in 2015, Justice Together, an organization, disappeared after founder Shaun King told members via email that he was shutting it down. The website further reported that Justice Together members said King became “evasive and defensive” when they sought direction about when and how to mobilize for the cause of the organization.

On Kamala Harris

In 2018, Shaun King expressed disliking for Kamala Harris and said he did not intend to support her or Joe Biden due to their positions on criminal justice. On November 14, 2018, he stated, via Twitter, "I'll be frank and tell you, two Democrats, that I am 99% sure I won't be supporting - primarily because of their dismal history on criminal justice reform over the course of their entire careers. Joe Biden & Kamala Harris. They both helped build & advance mass incarceration.”


However, he again changed his stand in 2020 on Kamala Harris. On August 11, 2020, King tweeted, "I am incredibly proud to see a brilliant Black woman, and HBCU grad, chosen as a Vice Presidential nominee. I've done political work my whole life. It's rarely things dreams are made of. Kamala Harris is the most progressive VP nominee in American history...She has improved drastically on all justice & policing-related issues since she was last District Attorney in 2011.” The tweet is unavailable now. 

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