‘They never created it. Now all of the sudden they’re interested in it…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Black Lives Matter activists raised millions of dollars for a group that isn’t even related to the movement, according to Buzzfeed News.
The group, called the Black Lives Matter Foundation, raised at least $4.35 million in the first weeks of June, but it has nothing to do “with the Black Lives Matter Global Network,” according to its founder, Robert Ray Barnes, a 67-year-old music producer in Los Angeles.
The foundation has only one paid employee and aims to “use our unique and creative ideas to help bring the police and the community closer together,” according to its most recent public tax filings from 2017. So it’s mission is completely different from Black Lives Matter activists, which hope to defund and even completely abolish the police.
A Black Lives Matter spokesperson accused the foundation of “improperly using our name.”
“We intend to call them out and follow up,” the spokesperson told Buzzfeed News.
Barnes, however, said “no one owns the concept,” and that as a black man, he has the right to use the money his foundation has mistakenly raised for to create “prototypes” for community and police bonding, including “community organized programs” such as annual dinners.
But Black Lives Matter activists have successfully cut the foundation off. GoFundMe agreed to put holds on all of the funds the foundation has raised and transfer it to the Black Lives Matter movement, and Benevity, a fundraising platform used by corporations such as Apple and Google, deactivated the foundation’s page on June 7.
Barnes said activists are attacking him baselessly.
“It appears there is a lot of scamming going on, but how can it have to do with me?” Barnes said.
“I had plenty of motivation to create the Black Lives Matter Foundation and the people who were doing Black Lives Matter weren’t interested in a foundation,” Barnes said. “They never created it. Now all of the sudden they’re interested in it.”