Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse-Khan Cullors has reacted to criticism over her $3 million property empire.
Cullors, who describes herself as a “trained Marxist”, was forced to defend her real estate hoard on camera, insisting that she sees her home in a well-off Los Angeles area as communal property.
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She told former CNN journalist Marc Lamont-Hill on Thursday: “The way that I live my life is in direct support to black people, including my black family members“
Cullors said it was ‘categorically untrue’ and ‘incredibly dangerous’ to suggest she may have used any of the organization’s funds to buy her four homes and described scrutiny over her property empire as a ‘racist and sexist’ attack by the ‘right-wing media’.
The Mail Online reports: The 37-year-old, who set up BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi back in 2013, broke down in tears as she revealed she has ‘spent the last week with security’ after her homes were first pictured in the media.
She also tried to deflect criticism from some on the left who have questioned whether her ownership of four homes contradicts her ideology as a ‘trained Marxist’ as she said she has invested in the properties to provide for her family and sees her wealth ‘as my family’s money, as well.’
Her explanation comes after it emerged she has accrued four homes worth a combined total of around $3 million in recent years, sparking questions about her source of income.
Black Lives Matter raked in around $90 million in donations last year but does not release a full accounting of its spending. The organization said Cullors has been paid $120,000 since 2013 but has not received any payment since 2019.
Meanwhile, much of the discussion of her homes has been banned on Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter on Monday locked out a black sportswriter who questioned why Cullors was stacking up properties including one in a mostly white neighborhood. Facebook this week also blocked users from sharing a DailyMail.com story that reported on the purchase of the homes.
Cullors told Lamont Hill people need to ‘see through the right-wing lies’ being pushed and doubled down that she is not paid by the BLM Global Network Foundation.
‘I have never taken a salary from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation and that’s important because what the right-wing media is trying to say is the donations that people have made to Black Lives Matter went toward my spending and that is categorically untrue and incredibly dangerous,’ she said.
The 37-year-old told the presenter it was ‘correct’ that she had bought her homes with income not earned directly from BLM.
‘That’s correct. I’m a college professor first of all, I’m a TV producer and I have had two book deals…. and also have had a YouTube deal,’ she said.
So all of my income comes directly from the work that I do.’
Cullors went on to say that while she had never ‘never taken a salary from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’, she believes organizers should be paid a living wage for their work.
‘Organizers should get paid for the work that they do. They should get paid a living wage,’ she said.
Cullors branded the focus on her homes and finances as ‘racist and sexist’ and said it was common in the black community for people to invest in properties to provide for their family members.
And the fact that the right-wing media is trying to create hysteria around my spending is, frankly, racist and sexist and I also want to say that many of us that end up investing in homes in the black community often invest in homes to take care of their family,’ she said.
‘You can talk to so many black people and black women particularly that take care of their families, take care of their loved ones especially when they’re in a position to.’
The homes she has bought ‘directly support the people that I love and care about’, she said, adding that she is not ‘renting them out in some Airbnb operation.’
She also said the New York Post’s claim that she was shopping for a home in the Bahamas is a ‘lie’ and that she hasn’t visited the country in more than two decades when she went on a dancing trip aged 15.
Lamont Hill pointed out that Cullors has also been criticized by ‘the left’ that ‘extravagant homes of any sort or multiple properties of any sort is itself contradictory’ to her ideology as a Marxist.
When asked about this critique of a ‘potential contradiction’ between her ‘expressed politics’ and ‘lived practice’, Cullors said there was no contradiction as she is supporting her family and the black community.
‘I think that is critique that is wanting,’ she said.
‘The way that I live my life is a direct support to black people, including my black family members, first and foremost.
‘For so many black folks who are able to invest in themselves and their communities they choose to invest in their family and that is what I have chosen to do.
‘I have a child, I have a brother who has a severe mental illness that I take care of, I support my mother, I support many other family members of mine and so I see my money as not my own. I see it as my family’s money, as well.’
Cullors said the scrutiny on her homes and finances was an attempt to discredit both her and the work of BLM.
‘The whole point of these articles and these attacks against me are to discredit me, but also to discredit the movement,’ she said.
‘We have to stay focused on white supremacy,’ she added as she urged people to ‘see through the right-wing lies.’