The national Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization sent legal threats to a prominent New York BLM activist for using the Black Lives Matter name, according to both parties.
BLM Global Network Foundation, cofounded by Patrisse Cullors, sent cease-and-desist letters to BLM Greater New York leader Hank Newsome claiming Newsome’s group is illegally uses the Black Lives Matter name, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF). Newsome earlier this week called for an independent investigation into Cullors’ finances after she reportedly spent millions on new properties.
BLM Greater New York is unaffiliated with the national BLM group and is illegally operating under the BLM name, the foundation argued in its letters to Newsome.
Newsome “is not and has never been a part of the official Black Lives Matter organization, but continues to use BLM’s name even after sending him multiple cease and desist letters. Therefore, any mention of him as a leader is not factual,” an outside spokesman for the BLM Global Network Foundation said. “Only BLM chapters who adhere to BLM’s principles and code of ethics are permitted to use the BLM name.”
The national BLM group does not have legal rights over the Black Lives Matter name. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected six applications from the group to trademark the phrase.
On Sunday, Newsome called for an audit of Cullors’ finances after news broke that Cullors has spent about $3.2 million buying four properties since 2016. The prominent Black Lives Matter leader purchased a $1.4 million property near Los Angeles and a $415,000 “custom ranch” near Atlanta within the past year.
The L.A. and Atlanta purchases came after the publication of Cullors’ memoir, “When They Call You a Terrorist,” and after she signed “a multi-platform” deal with Warner Bros. Television Group.
BLM Global Network Foundation responded to allegations of impropriety surrounding Cullors’ lavish spending Tuesday, claiming that the allegations put Cullors and her family “in harm’s way” and “continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists.”
When approached about his use of the BLM name, Newsome told DCNF, “So the issue has become my affiliation and not the use of funds … Interesting.”
“This movement belongs to the people,” Newsome said. “It is for the people and by the people. It is the people that take to the streets and march in the name of BLM. No one has ownership of that. It is the equivalent of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. claiming ownership of the civil rights movement.”
Numerous local BLM groups have complained about the transparency of the national BLM organization and expressed concern that millions in charitable donations to the group were not being dispersed fairly. In November, 10 local chapters accused the national group of hiding “untold millions of dollars.” As The Daily Wire reported:
Black Lives Matter chapters in Chicago, Denver, Hudson Valley in New York, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Diego, Vancouver in Washington state, and Washington, D.C., signed onto a statement issued Monday condemning the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) Foundation. The foundation, the statement said, has taken major actions without input from chapter leaders and refused until recently to make any effort to distribute millions of dollars-worth of donations to grassroots activists.
“Since the establishment of BLMGN, our chapters have consistently raised concerns about financial transparency, decision making, and accountability,” the statement says. “Despite years of effort, no acceptable internal process of accountability has ever been produced by BLMGN and these recent events have undermined the efforts of chapters seeking to democratize its processes and resources.”