BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Suddenly Resigns After Defense of Expanding Real Estate Portfolio
Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors has spent the year embroiled in controversy. The 37-year-old activist has now resigned as the executive director of the movement’s foundation, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Cullors co-founded BLM in 2013 with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, both of whom separated from the group a while ago.
Cullors has been facing questions over the enormous amounts of donations the group received in the wake of global protests over the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The group amassed a whopping $90 million last year, and affiliated BLM groups companies blamed Cullors for a lack of transparency.
The foundation said it ended 2020 with a balance of more than $60 million, after spending nearly a quarter of its assets on operating expenses, grants to Black-led organizations, as well as other charitable giving, Politico reported.
Then Cullors was accused of using BLM money to purchase real estate, something she admittedly denied.
In recent years Cullors has purchased four properties, The New York Post reported. Two were bought before 2020 before the swell of donations to BLM. Three of those properties were in the Los Angeles area, and one was in suburban Atlanta, according to the Post.
One of the L.A. properties cost $510,000 when Cullors purchased it in 2016. A second L.A. property cost $590,000 in 2018, and the Atlanta property was purchased for $415,000 in 2020, USA Today reported.
Cullors also denied that her resignation has anything to do with increased scrutiny. According to Cullors, her decision to resign has been in the works for more than a year, Politico reported.
She called those attacks against her part of a far-right smear campaign. “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 said.
Twitter was divided over her resignation.
“Every time an org, biz, town, school, etc., started by black people becomes successful, rest assured the FOX news types are knee deep in the destruction. Never ever fails,” tweeted Cheyenne Sam @Pamela29405948.
But Denham @Denham0001 was critical of Cullors. “Got her cash and out the door..! What a world.”
Cullors is readying for the upcoming release of her second book and her multi-year TV development deal with Warner Bros., which she inked in 2020.
Under the overall production deal with Warner Bros., Cullors will create original programming that raises Black voices on streaming services and traditional TV channels.
The multiyear agreement is Cullors’ first overall production deal with a Hollywood studio, The Los Angeles Times reported.
In 2018, Cullors released “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” which became a New York Times bestseller. She has also worked on several racial justice projects outside of BLM, for which she was paid.
“I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,” Cullors told The Associated Press. “It feels like the time is right.”
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The foundation will bring in two new interim senior executives: 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.
Cullors’ last day with the foundation is May 28.