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Innocent until proven guilty is the American legal mantra.

So, with that in mind I want to talk about writer, activist, pastor and Black Lives Matter leader, Shaun King.

Is he white?

Is he black?

Is he both?

Reports have surfaced that he may not be what he says he is; black or biracial.

Reports also state that he may have lied about being the victim of an alleged hate crime in 1995 as a sophomore at his rural Kentucky High School.

King reportedly wrote in his blog, in his book and on twitter in 2009 that, “15 years ago when I was a sophomore in high school I was brutally beaten to a pulp. Missed two years of high school.


The report asserts that King claims he was attacked by a dozen “racist” and “redneck” students.

Profiles about King also assert that the assault was one of Kentucky’s first registered hate crimes.

The police report and the detective who allegedly investigated the incident show and say otherwise; that it was never classified as a hate crime.

Both indicate that it was a one on one altercation over a girl.

Two of King’s friends have taken to social media to defend him, saying the incident did actually happen.

CNN commentator and attorney Areva Martin tells CNN that if true, “This story is so disturbing in light of Rachel Dolezal all and Jared Fogle. Individuals who lived double lives and perpetrate frauds on the public are becoming increasingly more prevalent.”

Martin says that, “In this case, given his claim of being a civil rights activist, draws negative attention and assumptions about the Black Lives Matter movement and the authenticity of its leaders.  It is never acceptable to lie about your race take away not to gain financial benefits such as a scholarship and leadership roles in black organizations. By doing so you undermine the credibility of the organization and its work.”

My producers have spoken to a King family member who says both of his parents are white and that he is indeed white.

The family member also say the high school fight, though not a hate crime, was racially motivated because King was dating a black girl at the time who is now his wife.

I have been in communication with King.

I will not share the details of our conversations, but what I will say is that he is very distraught right now.

King claims the allegations are a hit job by Right Wing Conservatives.

He may be right about that.

In a text to me last night King told me there were three things he wanted to convey.

  1. This attack isn’t about me so much, but is about derailing Black Lives Matter and the movement against police brutality.
  1. The reports are all lies. I tried hard to debunk them and others have said they are lies as well.
  1. I will speak soon.

And when I asked him if he was legally black or white he says he’s bi-racial.

However, he did not answer my question on what ethnicity is on his birth certificate.

In the whole scheme of things, does it matter what color Shaun King is?


What matters is if he misrepresented himself to gain access to programs or funds set aside for minorities.

Isn’t that why so many people were up in arms about Rachel Dolezal?

Don Lemon on Shaun King: Black Lives Matter And So Do White Lies  was originally published on