Debunking the Denouncement
Alt-Right Misinformation Campaign Distributes Video Falsely Claiming to be From BLM Founder
There is a video circulating, popping up in the comments on posts and articles about the Black Lives Matter protests occurring around the United States and the world. Its existence is used to invalidate a movement built on ending the escalating militarized violence of the police force, which is ever more often mobilized against black citizens and protestors.
The video is posted on YouTube in several places. Some have fewer than 200 views. One has just under 200,000. The videos are all titled variations on a theme, the theme being that the video is of a founding member of the Black Lives Matter movement and one of the original Ferguson organizers, Chaziel Sunz, denouncing the movement.
Sunz, however, was never a founding member of the Black Lives Matter movement. He was never a Ferguson organizer.
In his own words in a comment left on one of the most viewed videos, Chaziel Sunz denies that he was ever even in the Black Lives Matter movement.
The founders of the Black Lives Matter movement are black women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. Erasing their names from the movement they founded in order to fallaciously claim that it was secretly created by a man who has now denounced it is just one part of how insidious this all is.
The video goes on to claim that the Black Lives Matter movement is secretly funded by George Soros. This isn’t a particularly unique claim, as many right-wing politicians and pundits have been claiming that Soros is secretly behind all sorts of things, from paying anti-fascist protestors to show up at protests to funneling funds to reproductive rights protestors.
The claims that Soros is the shadowy figure whose presence behind legitimate movements is somehow invalidating them are very popular right now, with the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder still going strong across multiple states.
Candace Owens, a conservative commentator, wrote, “As he did with Antifa, Democrat George Soros has these thugs on payroll. He is funding the chaos via his Open Society Foundation.”
A Republican candidate for Congress who ran unsuccessfully against Nancy Pelosi in March 2020, DeAnna Lorraine, asked her 261k followers to “bring attention to this very organized takeover” of the country by getting #sorosgate and #soros to trend on Twitter.
And the former actor, now a right-wing disinformation pundit, James Woods, referred to a “night of savage anarchy” on May 30, and claimed, “[when] George Soros rules our streets, we are doomed. #TakeAmericaBack.”
And just like the right-wing posters on social media have fallaciously claimed that Sunz is the founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, so too do they also widely distribute a quote that they falsely attribute to Soros, “I’m going to bring down the United States by funding Black Hate groups. We’ll put them into a mental trap and make them blame white people. The Black community is the easiest to manipulate.” To be clear, there is no evidence that Soros ever made such a statement.
The claim made by Sunz in his video and by the right-wing all over social media, that Soros funds Black Lives Matter, is rooted in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories found on 4chan and Reddit. The largely anonymous posters on those sites claim that Soros is trying to start a race war in order to distract from the super-secret attempts by the Jewish community to control the country and take over the world. These claims are nonsense, rooted in the same lies that were used to persecute the Jewish people from the Middle Ages to the Holocaust.
To top it all off, Sunz’s video also goes on to refer to the groups that he says are using the Black Lives Matter movement to disguise their own agendas, which he lists off as “gays”, “anti-fascists”, and “liberals”, as “evil and demonic”.
A video like this is *exactly* what white nationalists and supremacists want, so they can do what they’ve always done and say, “Look, loooooook, black people don’t actually want equal treatment under the law! They don’t want us to stop murdering them!”
White slave owners had the narrative of the slaves who preferred their enslavement and the white nationalists and supremacists now have the narrative that the protestors don’t *actually* want broad social changes in order to save their lives and the lives of their families. No, they are only marching for that because someone is paying them, someone is riling them up.
If it wasn’t a video posted of Sunz, it would be something or someone else they could prop up (or just lie about), in order to claim that black people really actually *like* being mistreated, enslaved, and murdered.
After all, they used to use the Bible.