Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors announced on May 27 that she is stepping down from her role as executive director of the movement’s foundation following criticism over the foundation’s finances and her personal wealth.
Cullors, 37, told the Associated Press that her departure, which is effective Friday, had been planned for a year and had nothing to do with the personal attacks she has faced from far-right groups or any disputes within the movement.
She said she is leaving to focus on other projects, including the upcoming release of her second book and a multi-year TV development deal with Warner Bros.
“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.”
Cullors’ resignation comes just one month after The New York Post reported she had purchased “four high-end homes for $3.2 million” in the United States since 2016, all of which were in predominantly white neighborhoods.
She had also looked into purchasing a residence in the Bahamas at an ultra-exclusive resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods both have homes, according to the Post.
At the time of the report, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation issued a statement saying that they had not paid for Cullors’s house.
However, the report prompted Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter Greater New York City, to call for an independent investigation into the foundation’s finances.
Cullors told AP on Thursday that the reports had no influence over her decision to resign from her role as executive director.
“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,” she said.
The BLM Foundation told AP in February that it had raised $90 million amid last year’s racial justice protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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, and other expenses.