- Candance Owens called BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors a liar for claiming the reporter harassed her when she showed up outside her Los Angeles home
- In video from last week’s encounter, the Daily Wire host is seen calmly asking for Cullors, who posted a sobbing video of the encounter on Instagram
- Owens claimed the property was listed under BLM, but she showed up at Cullors home in Topanga Canyon, not the group’s controversial $6 million mansion
- Cullors has come under scrutiny over the mansion, defending its purchase using funds raised in the wake of the George Floyd murder in 2020
- She has since admitted to using the mansion twice for personal use, one for her son’s birthday party and another for a Joe Biden inauguration party
- She also faces backlash for her real-estate binge in 2020 and backing of charities connected closely to her that has raised red flags
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has tearfully sobbed that she was being harassed by conservative commentator Candace Owens who calmly asked to speak to her outside her $1.4 million Los Angeles mansion.
Owens, 33, who works for The Daily Wire, released footage of the incident calling Cullors, 38, a ‘liar’ as she shared the edited video of her team calmly asking last Saturday to speak with the troubled activist.
The incident comes a week after Cullors, who resigned from the Black Lives Matter Global Network last year amid scrutiny over her leadership, admitted that she lied when she denied using the $6 million LA property for official business only as she continues to face a probe over how the group’s funds were handled.
Cullors told the Associated Press earlier this week that she used the opulent seven-bed Studio City compound – purchased in cash by BLM in October 2020 – for her own recreation twice.
The first instance saw her hold a party to toast Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration as president and vice president in January 2021.
Then, in March the same year, she commandeered the luxury property – whose purchase has sparked fury among other racial justice campaigners – for her school-aged son’s birthday party.
Cullors said of her earlier decision to lie: ‘I look back at that and think, that probably wasn’t the best idea.’
She previously issued a statement denying that she’d ever lived there or used the property for her personal gain after its purchase was revealed by New York magazine, triggering allegations of racism from BLM.
The purchase of the 6,500 square-foot Studio City property – which officials previously said was reserved exclusively for official foundation business – was disclosed last month by NY Mag
In the clip of Owens visiting Cullors’ Topanga Canyon Home, she tells a guard at the gate: ‘I was just looking to speak to whoever is at this property because it’s listed as the Black Lives Matter property?’
She goes on to say, ‘We’re not trying to harass you. We’ll gladly leave. We’re just wondering if we can speak to anybody?’
Cullors condemned the incident on Instagram in her tearful video.
‘I really need my family to be safe. I need to be safe. I need my child to be safe, and what happened this morning is not safety,’ she said.
Cullors claimed the conservative news outlet had set a dangerous precedent and accused Daily Wire of trying to divide black Americans.
‘It’s unacceptable and it’s dangerous for anybody, any stranger, to come outside of my house,’ Cullors said.
‘They are purposefully building a wedge between black people because they know that when we are together, we’re stronger, and they’ve seen what we’ve done this last decade, and they are literally trying to destroy us, destroy me, destroy the movement.’
Cullors, who was one of three people who founded the Black Lives Matter Global Network in 2013 following the police shooting of Treyvon Martin, helped the group raise $90 million through the Black Lives Matter resurgence in 2020.
The group still has an impressive $60 million in funds, but questions have been raised over the group’s finances after it was discovered they purchased a $6 million, 6,500 square-foot Studio City property.
Explaining the reason behind the luxurious purchase, Cullors told the Associated Press: ‘We looked at commercial buildings and we looked at homes and then we found this really amazing space that’s a sweet spot between commercial and residential.’
She went on to justify its purchase by highlighting how the mansion had a soundstage which enabled BLM to produce podcasts, but admitted she had used it for her own personal business, hosting a party for Joe Biden’s inauguration and a birthday party for her son last year.
After receiving an email from New York Magazine asking for comment on the house’s existence last month, BLM officials reportedly circulated an internal memo with possible responses to the outlet’s query concerning the alleged purchase.
The responses ranged from: ‘Can we kill the story?’ to: ‘Our angle – needs to be to deflate ownership of the property,’ the magazine reported.
At the time, Cullors – who attested the property was bought as a ‘safe space’ for black creatives, activists and thought leaders, and that its purchase was never disclosed because it needed renovating – angrily hit back at her detractors, describing criticism she was facing since the purchase was made public as ‘racist and sexist.’
Cullors, meanwhile, defended the purchase, arguing that the opulent home was bought to bring further value to the BLM empire.
‘We really wanted to make sure that the global network foundation had an asset that wasn’t just financial resources,’ she said, ‘and we understood that not many black-led organizations have property. They don´t own their property.’
The case has brought scrutiny into not only BLM’s finances, but to Cullors’ own spending after she went on a real-estate spree following the groups’ rise to success in 2020.
The New York Post reported that Cullors had bought three new homes – two in Los Angeles and a sprawling ranch in Georgia – since 2016 at a total cost of around $3 million.
This includes the $415,000 ‘custom ranch’ on 3.2 acres in Conyers, Georgia, which boasts its own pool and airplane hangar.
Additionally, the spending spree saw Cullorssnap up two Los Angeles homes, including a three-bedroom home in Inglewood for $510,000 and four-bedroom home in South LA for $590,000.
Then, in April of that year, it emerged Cullors had bought a $1.4million home in the largely white district of Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles – valuing her property empire at roughly $4.6million.
BLM’s Global Network filtered its donations through a group called Thousand Currents – which made it even more complicated to trace the cash.
Solome Lemma, executive director of Thousand Currents, said at the time of the allegations over misused funds: ‘Donations to BLM are restricted donations to support the activities of BLM.’
Since then, the group has been tied to several charities set in place by Cullors that have subsequently made payments to Cullors and her business partners, according to a report released earlier this year on the organization’s spending.
Included in the the scrutiny into BLM’s finances was a report that the group transferred $6.3million to Cullor’s spouse, Janaya Khan, and other Canadian activists to purchase a mansion in Toronto in 2021, as well as several other charities whose finances raise ‘red flags’ concerning the foundation’s spending.
The report also showed how Cullors had designated some of the $90million the nonprofit made in 2020 to prison reform charities.
One of the groups, Reform LA Jails that Cullors founded, had received $1.4million, of which $205,000 went to the consulting firm owned by Cullors and Khan, New York Magazine reported.
Reform LA Jails then gave $270,000 to Christman Bowers, treasurer of the Black Lives Matter PAC; $211,000 to Asha Bandelle, a friend of Cullors’ who co-wrote her memoir; and another $86,000 to Trap Heals LLC, an entertainment, clothing and consulting company started by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’ child.
In April 2021, reports began emerging – provided by the National Legal and Policy Center – which showed Cullors had amassed a $3.2million property empire by buying four properties – three in the Los Angeles area and one outside of Atlanta.
In the year since her resignation, the BLM foundation hasn’t hired new leadership or publicly discussed plans for money still sitting in its coffers.
Two veteran civil rights organizers who were announced last May as interim senior executives for the foundation said they never began serving in that capacity, citing in a statement a failure to reach an agreement with BLM´s leadership council about the scope of their work and decision-making authority.
It was only earlier this month that the foundation announced a new board of directors, which leaders said will grow in the coming months.
And it was only recently that the foundation caught up with its financial filings: In California, where it had been deemed delinquent in submitting required charity disclosures from 2020, the state Registry of Charitable Trusts now shows the foundation is current.
Records show a small number of people with responsibility over the foundation. A 990 filing submitted to the IRS for January through June 2020, lists Cullors as an uncompensated executive director and the foundation’s only employee.
At that point, still under the fiscal sponsorship of a well-established charity, the BLM foundation reported no revenue, assets, contributions or expenses.
The filing lists just two board members, including Shalomyah Bowers, who is the president at Bowers Consulting, a firm that has provided operational support to the BLM foundation for two years.
In a phone interview, Bowers said the organization had been working since Cullors´ departure to sort out its infrastructure.
He said the organization underwent an independent financial audit which, along with the expected May release of its latest 990 filing, will show that ‘nothing impermissible or nefarious has happened’ with BLM’s finances.
We are now a foundation that is deeply devoted to investing in organizations that are committed to doing the work of abolition (and) committed to building black power,’ he said.