'Marxist' Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors has responded to criticism over her $3.2 million real estate empire, claiming that she didn't use a single penny of BLM funds to buy her homes. Cullors took to Instagram on Thursday, and in a series of posts, insisted that the information doing the rounds is "categorically false" and "incredibly dangerous."
She described the scrutiny over her multi-million dollar empire of four homes as a "racist and sexist" attack by the "right-wing media" in an interview with Marc Lamont Hill for Black News Tonighton Thursday. Cullors made headlines earlier this week after it was revealed that she allegedly purchased several luxurious homes in upscale neighborhoods with funds from the BLM organization.
Cullors, 37, who founded Black Lives Matter along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013, broke down in tears on Thursday as she said that she "spent the last week with security" after her homes were first pictured in the media. "I have never taken a salary from the Black Lives Matters Global Networks Foundation," she also said Thursday.
"That's important," she told Black News Tonight host Marc Lamont Hill, adding that since "what the right-wing media is trying to say is that the donations that people gave to Black Lives Matter went towards my spending. "And that is categorically untrue and incredibly dangerous."
Cullors has reportedly purchased four high-end homes for $3.2M in the US alone, including one in a mostly white area of Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County for $1.4M. This gave rise to speculation that Cullors used funds from the BLM to purchase those properties.
Besides denying those allegation, she also refuted claims 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."
Cullors also said that 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.
Whose Money is It?
Cullors, who sobbed on and off during the interview, told the host that 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.
Cullors also 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.
However, while defending herself, she never said whether she was paid through BLM's network of similarly named for-profit entities. BLM raked in around $90 million in donations last year but does not reveal spending and executive pay in its accounting.
The organization said Cullors has been paid $120,000 since 2013 but has not received any payment since 2019. Cullors was not specifically asked during the interview if she took a salary from BLM's closed-books for-profit arms and she too didn't say anything about it on her own.
Instead, she went on to say that while she had "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 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.