Activist Shaun King triggered another wave of backlash against him on Saturday after he allegedly used the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman to promote his new book.
What did King say?
In an email sent to supporters on Saturday, King wrote:
I hope you are hanging in there. Yesterday I sent an email checking in on everybody – and just a few hours later we learned of the death of Chadwick Boseman. Life is so very fragile. Tomorrow is not promised.
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.
King then directed supporters to book retailers where his book can be purchased.
Shaun King is using Chadwicks death to sell books, he claims don’t make him any money. I’m so tired of SK profiting… https://t.co/M9v5YD3PIk
— Fidelity to Facts, Science & Logic (@Fidelity to Facts, Science & Logic)1598720122.0
What was the response?
The blowback was so fierce that King’s name trended on Twitter Saturday evening as tens of thousands of people condemned him for apparently leveraging the death of Boseman to promote his book.
- “If this is the Civil Rights movement of our time, please continue to document who Shaun King actually is, a fraud,” one person said.
- “This makes me absolutely sick. What a horrible, horrible thing to do. And this part about ‘being paid last year’ — that’s called an advance, and he got that AND will get more if more books are sold over a certain threshold. Which is what this ploy is. How disgusting. Pure filth,” another person responded.
- “Can…he just not grift for a whole 24 hours?
Disgusting,” another person
- “There’s a reason God didn’t bless him with pigment, so you can see right through him,” another person said.
- “Shaun King is reaching levels of Grifting never thought possible. He is really going hard for the Grifter of the Year Award,” another person responded.
- “Do not give @shaunking your money, your time, or your respect,” another person said.
- “Hello folks, publisher here.
When Shaun King says he doesn’t ‘make a dime’ off of selling his books, and he was already paid for them ‘a year ago?’ If that statement is true, what it means is his book has yet to earn back his advance on royalties,” one person
In response, King said he did not regret sending the email, claiming he does not earn a profit from his book.
“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,” he wrote on Twitter.
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… https://t.co/nGV0bBOvmN
— Shaun King (@Shaun King)1598730843.0
King has been routinely involved in controversy and has been regularly criticized for his lack of transparency with regard to fundraising.
King has been embroiled in controversy. Though he is well-known as an activist, journalist and was one of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) surrogates in both the 2016 and 2020 campaign, he has been accused of raising money for causes without properly accounting for where the money went, according to The Daily Beast.
In September 2019, activist DeRay Mckesson wrote a piece for Medium accusing King of a “lack of transparency” during fundraising campaigns for the anti-police violence organization Justice Together in 2015 and a Black independent media site The North Star in 2018.
King, however, denies all allegations against him.