A prominent black sports journalist barred from Twitter for the ‘crime’ of discussing the $1.4 million house bought by a Black Lives Matter co-founder slammed the company for trying to silence legitimate debate.
Jason Whitlock, 53, told DailyMail.com on Monday that Twitter was ‘going too far’ by blocking him from posting to his account, which has nearly 450,000 followers.
The censorship by Twitter comes as social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have increasingly ‘de-platformed’ figures who stray too far from opinions they consider acceptable.
‘BLM is one of Big Tech’s sacred cows,’ Whitlock told DailyMail.com ‘I’ve been harping on the fraudulence and the financial grift of BLM for years.’
‘I think Twitter has been looking for an excuse to de-platform me,’ he said.
BLM raised $90 million last year, the AP has reported, but it’s unclear how leaders are paid – if they are paid – because the organization’s finances are opaque, a fact that has sparked criticism, even among local BLM chapters.
Now, Whitlock says, Twitter is trying to silence him for asking questions about BLM’s finances.
He was silenced just as it emerged that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a self-professed ‘trained Marxist’, had purchased the $1.4 million house in LA. The New York Post reported Cullors had also bought two other LA homes in recent years, and paid $415,000 for a 3.2 acre property in Georgia.
Jason Whitlock, a sports journalist, has had his Twitter account blocked, he told DailyMail.com
A fellow reporter posted a picture of the message Jason Whitlock received from Twitter when it locked him out of his account after he questioned a co-founder of BLM’s purchase of a home
Whitlock’s original tweet commented on Patrisse Cullors (pictured) and her property purchase
The $1.4 million home Patrisse Cullors purchased in the Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles
When Whitlock tweeted his response to the news of Cullors’s purchase, he included a link to the popular celebrity real estate website The Dirt, which first reported the details of the property.
Cullors, 37, raised eyebrows with her new three bedroom, three bathroom house in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles – a largely white district.
In her new zip code, 88 per cent of residents are white and 1.8 per cent black, according to the census.
Whitlock explained: ‘Twitter locked my account around 4pm Friday,’ confirming his account was still blocked.
‘They said my account was locked because I revealed personal information about someone.
‘They said I needed to remove the tweet that linked the dirt.com story about Cullors buying a house in Topanga.’
There was no explanation of how linking to the Dirt.com story revealed personal information as neither the story, nor Whitlock’s tweet, listed an address – and the purchase also was discussed widely elsewhere on Twitter and reported throughout the press.
Twitter didn’t respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Whitlock tweeted on Friday, in response to a critic of his original tweet: ‘She had a lot of options on where to live. She chose one of the whitest places in California. She’ll have her pick of white cops and white people to complain about. That’s a choice, bro.’
On Monday, Whitlock further told a YouTube channel: ‘I’m still in Twitter jail, because I won’t post bail.’
He added: ‘I won’t post bail. I’m not sure if I’m going to post bail,’ he said, referring to deleting his tweet, which had been removed from view by Twitter.
He insisted he did nothing wrong.
Curtis Scoon (right) interviews Jason Whitlock after Whitlock’s Twitter account was locked when he tweeted about Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors and her various properties
‘I find it hypocritical,’ he said, of her decision to live in a largely white neighborhood. ‘There is so much hypocrisy. She’s acting like a capitalist.
‘They want you to remove the tweet to start your 12 hour sentence. Why should I remove the tweet? They have already removed it. I sat back and said I’m going to do nothing, and see where this story goes.
‘I’m going to play Nelson Mandela in the Twitter jail,’ he said of the former South African leader.
He pointed out that Twitter’s move had only served to shine a spotlight on the story, adding it ‘has gone exactly how I wanted it to go’.
Whitlock said BLM founders like Cullors were ‘making millions of dollars off the backs of these dead black men who they wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire and alive.’
The company’s action in blocking Whitlock has sparked yet more concern about the Twitter’s powers of censorship.
The Silicon Valley giant’s ability to control the discussion was highlighted by its January decision to block Donald Trump, fearing that his inflammatory tweets could spark civil unrest. Since then his allies including Steve Bannon have also been permanently blocked by the site.
Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter, in October was forced to apologize for blocking a news story featuring allegations about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and his business dealings.
Twitter chose to restrict distribution of the story, citing its hacked material policy, which doesn’t ‘permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets.’
Whitlock had his account blocked at 4pm on Friday, he told DailyMail.com
Whitlock’s original tweet, on Friday morning, was removed by Twitter for ‘violating rules’
Jack Dorsey, pictured last month, has had to apologize for Twitter’s previous blocking of tweets
Dorsey admitted that in that situation, the company overstepped the mark.
‘Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,’ Dorsey tweeted.
Cullors is yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
After the news broke of her Los Angeles home, The New York Post reported on Saturday that Cullors had also bought three other homes in recent years, at a total cost of around $3 million.
Cullors and her partner also purchased a ‘custom ranch’ on 3.2 acres in Conyers, Georgia last year for $415,000.
That residence comes complete with its own pool and airplane hangar.
Additionally, the publication claims that property records show Cullors has bought two other Los Angeles homes in recent years.
In 2016, she is said to have paid $510,000 for a three-bedroom home in Inglewood.
In 2018, Cullors added another home to her property portfolio, by laying down $590,000 for a four-bedroom home in South L.A., the Post says.
The Post reports that Cullors was also ‘eyeing property at the ultra-exclusive Albany resort outside Nassau in the Bahamas where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods have homes.’ The publication didn’t cite sources for its information.
In addition to the Topanga Canyon property, The New York Post reports that Cullors and her husband also purchased a ‘custom ranch’ on 3.2 acres in Conyers, Georgia last year
Cullors’ Conyers residence reportedly comes complete with its own pool and airplane hangar
Cullors’ new Los Angeles home, which sparked Whitlock’s Twitter ban, is described in the real estate listing as having ‘a vast great room with vaulted and beamed ceilings’.
The realtors write that the large back yard is ‘ideal for entertaining or quietly contemplating cross-canyon vistas framed by mature trees’.
The AP reported that Black Lives Matter took in $90 million in donations last year.
It’s not clear if or how Cullors is paid by the organization, as its finances are not public.
Patrisse Cullors, seen accepting Glamour’s Woman Of The Year 2016 award, has a new home
Cullors’ new home has high ceilings and a sliding door leading out to the tree-filled yard
The light-filled and airy home is just 20 miles from where she grew up, but a world away in style
The property features its own guest cabin (right) which the realtor says could serve as an office
Cullors’ expansive new home boasts of canyon views and calm amid the trees
The house is only 20 miles from her childhood home in Van Nuys, but is a world away.
In her 2018 memoir, she tells of being raised by a single mother with her three siblings in ‘an impoverished neighborhood’, where she lived ‘in a two-story, tan-colored building where the paint was peeling and where there is a gate that does not close properly and an intercom system that never works.’
Cullors grew up in the Van Nuys neighborhood of LA, which she described as ‘impoverished’
Some critics argued that living in a million-dollar home was at odds with her social justice mission.
Vallejo for Social Justice, a movement that describes itself as ‘Abolition + Socialist collective in the struggle for liberation, self-determination, & poor, working class solidarity,’ said it was an ill-judged flaunting of wealth.
‘We’re talking generational wealth off of the deaths & struggle of Black folks here,’ they tweeted.
‘Justice Teams Network & BLM founder paid $1.4 million dollars for a home.
‘This past week we bought a cot for our unhoused Black elder friend to keep him off the ground.’
One LGBTQ activist described BLM as ‘a racket’.
Author and activist Andy Ngo tweeted: ‘Cullors identifies as a communist & advocates for the abolishment of capitalism.’
Paul Joseph Watson, a British YouTube host, said she chose to live in ‘one of the whitest areas of California’.
Another Twitter user called Cullors a ‘fraud’ an said her brand of ‘Marxism’ apparently included buying a $1.4 million house.
Cullors founded BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013, in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin.
It is unclear if Cullors is paid by the group, which is currently cleft by deep divisions over leadership and funding.
Black Lives Matter protesters are seen outside the mayor of LA’s residence in November
Demonstrators stop traffic in Los Angeles outside the LA mayor’s home in November
Protesters take to the streets of Los Angeles in October
Protesters face off with sheriffs deputies in Westmont, South LA, on August 31
Cullors’ co-founders have left, and last summer Cullors assumed leadership of the Black Lives Matter Global Network – the national group that oversees the local chapters of the loosely-arranged movement.
Cullors’ move has not been universally welcomed, Politico reported in October.
Local organizers told Politico they saw little or no money and were forced to crowdfund to stay afloat. Some organizers say they were barely able to afford gas or housing.
BLM’s Global Network filters its donations through a group called Thousand Currents, Insider reported in June – which made it even more complicated to trace the cash.
Solome Lemma, executive director of Thousand Currents, told the site: ‘Donations to BLM are restricted donations to support the activities of BLM.’
Last month AP reported that BLM brought in $90 million in donations last year, leading to Michael Brown Sr. to join other Black Lives Matter activists demanding $20 million from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Brown, whose son Michael Brown Jr., was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 says he and his advocacy group have been short-changed by the larger BLM organization.
‘Why hasn’t my family’s foundation received any assistance from the movement?’ Brown asked in a statement.
The BLM co-founder, Cullors, who married Janaya Khan, a gender non-conforming leader of BLM in Toronto, in 2016, has been in high demand since her 2018 memoir became a best-seller.
In October she published her follow-up, Abolition.
She also works as a professor of Social and Environmental Arts at Arizona’s Prescott College, and in October 2020 signed a sweeping deal with Warner Bros.
The arrangement is described as a multi-year and wide-ranging agreement to develop and produce original programming across all platforms, including broadcast, cable and streaming.
‘As a long time community organizer and social justice activist, I believe that my work behind the camera will be an extension of the work I’ve been doing for the last twenty years,’ she said, in a statement obtained by Variety.
‘I look forward to amplifying the talent and voices of other black creatives through my work.’