Liberal activist and author Shaun King is in hot water after tying Chadwick Boseman’s death to a promotional email meant to help sell his book – a decision he says he doesn’t regret, despite a wave of criticism.
King found himself trending on Twitter, after screenshots of an email began making the rounds – one in which the author simultaneously reflected on the death of 43-year-old Boseman while also selling his book ‘Make Change’.
“I hope you are hanging in there. Yesterday I sent an email checking in on everybody – and just a few hours later we learned of the death of Chadwick Boseman. Life is so very fragile. Tomorrow is not promised,” he wrote, before jumping right into talking about Black Lives Matter and his book, which chronicles his work with the movement and in social justice reform.
“Everywhere I go, people ask me, ‘Shaun, how do I actually use my life, my skills, my time, my energy to impact and change the world?’ My book, ‘Make Change’, is a 272-page answer to that question,” he wrote.
“Shaun King is using Chadwick’s death to sell books he claims don’t make him any money. I’m so tired of SK profiting off of Black death,” the account @VeryWhiteGuy posted, along with the screenshots.
Despite thousands criticizing King for having capitalized on Boseman’s death to sell his book, he tweeted he had “no regrets” and claimed he no longer makes any money from ‘Make Change.’
“I literally do not make a penny off of sales for my book. Nothing. Got paid a year ago to write it. I had a mass email pre-scheduled to go out this morning about my book,” he tweeted. “I updated the email to also mention the death of Chadwick. And I don’t regret it. At all.”
I couldn’t imagine sending an email this morning that didn’t mention Chadwick. The original email that was scheduled to go out, didn’t mention him, actually, because it was written a few days ago. I decided to mention him – just knowing that people were hurting.
As many pointed out, if King actually doesn’t make any money from his book and was only paid one lump sum, it would be a very unusual publishing deal.
“Why does Shaun King keep expecting people to believe that he got paid upfront to write a book and is not getting a single penny thereafter?” Imani Gandy, editor at Rewire.News, wrote in reaction.
Shaun King, this is a lie.This isn’t how book deals work. What you got paid is an advance. As books sell, your advance gets paid back. Once it is paid back, you start to make more money on sales.You were trying to profit off Chadwick Boseman’s death and it’s disgusting. pic.twitter.com/FhD7KoJzB9
Shaun King is using Chadwicks death to sell books, he claims don’t make him any money. I’m so tired of SK profiting off of Black death. pic.twitter.com/XEd8s8tJd1
In an attention economy, you gotta stop spending your resources on Shaun King. There are better ways to get your news, I promise you.
King, far from a stranger to controversy, appears not to mind the attention at all, tweeting on Sunday that he was “still here” and pointing out how many times he’d been trending on Twitter in the past week.
I’m still here. #1 trending topic in the country 4 days this past week. Got cancelled a lot. I’m literally not leaving, not stopping. Pushing forward. Don’t base my worth or value on trends. My self-esteem doesn’t swing up when I’m popular or down when I’m not.
One of those times King was trending was because he threatened to name officers in the Kenosha Police Department unless they revealed the identities of those involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Boseman’s death on Friday, and the revelation that the actor had privately battled colon cancer for four years while continuing his on-screen career, has garnered attention worldwide, and King was not the first to be accused of capitalizing on the news.
Boseman’s final tweet before his death was a photo of himself with Kamala Harris, which liberal activists and organizations used to promote the Biden/Harris campaign in the midst of election season.
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