Shaun King labeled a 'fraud' for allegedly stealing documentarian's Declaration of Independence tweet
Twitter is not the place to be when you mess up. After all, the "do your thing Twitter" trend wasn't made up without reason. Shaun King seems to be the latest celebrity to have suffered the wrath of users of the social media channel. On Saturday, July 4, King took to Twitter to post a tweet in the backdrop of the Declaration of Independence. However, many including the tweet's real author called out King for his plagiarism. Apparently, King had stolen that tweet from a documentarian named Arlen Parsa. As expected, Twitter bashed King, who has since deleted the tweet.
King's Tweet read, "I am a historian by training. My undergraduate degrees are in history. Let me teach you something. Every man with a red dot on their face who signed the Declaration of Independence OWNED and enslaved Africans. Over 75% of them. The rest permitted it," along with a picture of the many that signed the Declaration of Independence, with a legend of small dots. In the next hour, the real author of the tweet, Parsa re-tweeted King's tweet replying, "I am actually the one that spent hours researching and making this. Glad to have it shared but I would like a bit of credit." Of course, since King deleted his original tweet, Parsa's tweet is also gone.
However, a viewer tweeted, "Shaun King is a fraud and a clown I thought everyone knew," with screenshots of both King's and Parsa's tweets, which can be seen here. Another user that also re-tweeted screenshots said, "Your daily reminder that Shaun King is a grifter and pathological liar." One more wrote, "Shaun King is a (clown emoji) I just don’t understand how so many people believe in his work which is largely fabricated, done for gain, and spread without fact. He’s done more harm than good. Yikes."
This is a sensitive time and many advocating for the #BlackLivesMatter movement have been calling out those that are ignorant of the issue or those that deny it exists. King's tweet was about a painful and dark part of America's history, hence the backlash. "Shaun King is some punk ass white guy, pretending 2 be a black guy who hates white people. He's a simpleton & anyone who follows that cretin is a fool. We have REAL leaders. We don't need this perpetrator to fake it 4 us! Get real & get a life. You are being used like a street ho," wrote one user with another adding, "This is so on-brand for Shaun King,” wrote Imani Gandy. “He’s been taking credit for Black women’s work for YEARS."
"Shaun King is so offensive he acts like he is the spokesman for black America then goes for cash grabs He wants to set the blacks against the whites & whites against the blacks he is a greedy tool of the NWO I hope you are well Jason Pi," wrote another frustrated user.
While it was obvious that King didn't claim the tweet to be his, he didn't give credit to the rightful author. King did take to Twitter to apologize after deleting the "offensive tweet", saying, "1. I approved the tweet written earlier that upset people. Junior staffer wrote it, but I signed off. So it’s on me. 2. Of course, they should’ve credited the person who crafted the picture. They didn’t know who crafted it. I should’ve paused it. 3. My apologies to @arlenparsa." But people were not having it. Many re-tweeted King's apology with snark remarks, with one user sarcastically tweeting, "Are you here telling me Shaun King is skirting responsibility and lying again? Well, I never."
"Standard Shaun King apology: 1. Hey, I got caught, I’m going to man up. 2. It actually wasn’t my fault here’s why 3. But it was my fault, I take all the blame. 4. If I was a lesser man I would blame others, cause it was their fault. 5. But the buck stops with me, I apologize," wrote another user.
"Why is transparency and accountability so difficult for Shaun King? Seriously. It’s fine that you don’t write you own tweets. It’s suspicious that that is only revealed in an effort to absolve yourself of something (sc)," wrote another frustrated user while others called out King's supporters, "SO many mutuals / people I follow still follow Shaun King. Also many mutuals / people I follow are watching & admiring Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. How do I get y’all to understand that these men are destructive to the movement, anti-black, misogynistic, and/or just wrong??"