Some media reports mislabeled Hawk Newsome as a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter activist organization in coverage of comments he made after a meeting with New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams. This can mislead news readers and viewers into believing Newsome’s inflammatory comments are representative of Black Lives Matter, when they are not.
As a CNBC report explained in June 2020, Newsome actually runs a “fringe Black Lives Matter knock-off group.” After then-President Donald Trump used a quote by Newsome to demonize Black Lives Matter, CNBC pointed out that he has nothing to do with the true Black Lives Matter organization:
In his tweet, Trump falsely described Newsome as a “Black Lives Matter leader.” But in reality, Newsome has repeatedly angered the founders of the official Black Lives Matter movement by adopting their moniker and raising money off of it, while espousing an approach to racial justice that is far more militant than the main branch of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Reached for comment about Newsome’s Fox News interview, a BLM spokesperson told CNBC, “As BLM has told Mr. Newsome in the past, and as is still true today, Mr. Newsome’s group is not a chapter of BLM and has not entered into any agreement with BLM agreeing to adhere to BLM’s core principles.”
The BLM Global Network’s statement on Newsome also explains that the official Black Lives Matter organization in New York is Black Lives Matter NYC, which is not the organization that Newsome runs.
Last June, Fox seized on Newsome as a convenient way to demonize the Black Lives Matter movement. The right-wing propaganda channel actually gave him a platform in order to use his comments to smear Black Lives Matter, which spurred Trump’s tweet.
Now, after a meeting Newsome and others had with Adams, some mainstream news outlets and reporters are falsely describing him as a founder of Black Lives Matter, or portraying his fringe organization as the official Black Lives Matter group in New York. A Daily News article from Wednesday night labeled Newsome a “co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York” without mentioning that it’s not a genuine Black Lives Matter organization:
Leaders of the city’s Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday threatened “riots” and “bloodshed” in the streets if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reverses the abolition of the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime units.
“If he thinks that they’re going to go back to the old ways of policing, then we are going to take to the streets again. There will be riots, there will be fire and there will be bloodshed because we believe in defending our people,” said Hawk Newsome, co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, after a heated meeting with Adams in Brooklyn Borough Hall.
New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman shared the Daily News story on Twitter and referred to the participants as “BLM founders.”
Mediaite also mislabeled Newsome as a “New York BLM co-founder.” Newsweek also misportrayed Newsome’s group as the official Black Lives Matter organization in New York, though it did update its story to include a comment from Adams that Newsome’s group is “not representative of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
CNN anchor Jim Sciutto this morning also falsely referred to Newsome as “New York’s BLM co-founder.”