He may be a “reverend,” but it seems Al Sharpton (shown) hasn’t absorbed the biblical admonition “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” So says Erica Snipes, a daughter of Eric Garner, the 400-pound Staten Island, New York, man who died after resisting arrest on July 17, 2014.
The accusation was made during a conversation secretly recorded (video below) by an investigator for conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas (PV). Posing as a Garner supporter at a protest last month, the investigator had the following exchange with Snipes, as presented by the New York Post:
“You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?” the investigator is heard asking Garner’s oldest daughter.
“He’s about this,” Snipes replies, rubbing her fingers together.
“He’s about money with you?” the undercover asks.
“Yeah,” Snipes responds.
Snipes expressed similar sentiments about Cynthia Davis, Staten Island chief of Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN); Snipes says the activist chastised her for not marketing NAN while disseminating information.
“She started attacking me …, [saying] ‘Oh, I see that you got this flier out, how come you didn't add the logo?’” Snipes relates in the video.
“They want their logo on your fliers?” the PV reporter asks.
“Instead of me, he [Sharpton] wants his face in front,” Snipes replies
“But it’s not about them; it’s about your dad,” the reporter notes.
“Exactly,” Snipes says, adding, “Al Sharpton paid for the funeral; she’s trying to make me feel like I owe them.”
Snipes sang a somewhat different tune once realizing her words were for public consumption, however. Reporting on comments she made in a Post interview last night, the paper wrote, “‘No, I didn’t say that I think Al Sharpton is all about the money,’ she said. But she stood by her criticism of Davis, the NAN director, who she claimed tried to block her from attending a protest at the Staten Island Museum against mass incarceration.”
The PV video also includes interviews with other activist-minded black individuals who likewise accused Sharpton of mercenary motives. For example, as Syracuse.com writes:
The report…includes an undercover conversation with Jean Petrus, a Brooklyn businessman who appears to criticize Sharpton at a Trayvon Martin Foundation Fundraiser in Florida.
"He knows how to make money and get money," the hidden camera records him saying. "They're shakedown guys to me. You know, let's call it what it is, they're shakedown."
But Petrus also tried to backpedal after being contacted by the Post. Characterizing the PV operation as “underhanded” and as “entrapment,” he complained that he never agreed to an interview and maintained he’s a “friend of Sharpton.”
Sharpton has other “friends,” too, such as attorney with the Trayvon Martin Foundation Darryl Parks. While he said in the PV video that there might be a “little truth” to the accusation that the “reverend” is “all about his money,” he later told the Post his remarks were “totally misconstrued” and taken out of context.
This was essentially Sharpton’s defense as well. Bizarrely attempting to spin the video to his own advantage, he told CBS News, “Not only do I think the video was taken out of context, there is nobody in that video that said I did anything with money.”
But while Sharpton may provide “boughten friendship at your side,” as poet Robert Frost put it, he has a long history of proving he doesn’t have friends — he has interests. In fact, as the New York Post reported just last month:
Want to influence a casino bid? Polish your corporate image? Not be labeled a racist?
Then you need to pay Al Sharpton.
For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.
The paper offers examples, such as an incident in which Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal genuflected before the preacher after leaked e-mails showed her making what some have called racially charged remarks about Barack Obama. Wrote the Post, “Pascal and her team were said to be ‘shaking in their boots’ and ‘afraid of the Rev’…. No payments to NAN have been announced, but Sharpton and Pascal agreed to form a ‘working group’ to focus on racial bias in Hollywood.”
But the only color bias animating Sharpton is the green variety, say critics. And in an ironic example of being hoisted on one’s own petards, the preacher himself is now being targeted by a black organization for facilitating Hollywood discrimination. At issue is a $20 billion lawsuit brought against not only “Comcast and TWC — on the eve of the two companies merging to become what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States — but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton,” writes the Hollywood Reporter. The plaintiff, the National Association of African-American Owned Media, alleges that Sharpton is turning a blind eye to supposed discrimination after having been “bought off,” as the Reporter put it.
Sharpton calls the allegations “frivolous,” but it’s hard not to note that the plaintiff is merely using against the preacher the same tactic he used to extract money from the corporations named in the suit with him.
But critics say “Rev.” Sharpton has always been more interested in leeching than preaching. For example, the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, has pointed out that the “reverend” status of racial demagogues such as Sharpton (and Jesse Jackson) is a matter of mere circumstance and convenience. He once explained the genesis of that status, saying (I’m paraphrasing), “When you’re a little black boy, your grandmother says to you, ‘You’re going to be a reverend.’” Note here that Sharpton was “ordained” when he was nine years old.
And Sharpton’s life since then has been anything but godly. In 1987-88, he engaged in race-baiting as an advisor to Tawana Brawley, a black teenage girl from Wappingers Falls, New York, who falsely accused six white men of rape; to this day Sharpton won’t even acknowledge the hoax or apologize to the accused, even though he besmirched their reputations. In 1991, his “preaching” — which ignores “the commandment about ‘bearing false witness,’” as Truth Revolt put it — fueled the Crown Heights anti-Jewish riot in NYC in which two people were killed and several Jews were badly injured. And in 1995, Sharpton inspired and led protests that led to the burning of Jewish-owned clothing store Freddie’s Fashion Mart in Harlem, the shooting of several customers, and the deaths of seven employees from smoke inhalation.
Nonetheless, Sharpton is still invited to appear in media, has his own television show on MSNBC and a radio program entitled Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton. Of course, how real anything is with a phony reverend is debatable. But this hasn’t stopped the White House from inviting Sharpton to visit at least 72 times since 2009. Nor has the preacher’s checkered, rabble-rousing past prevented him from being, as Politico put it, “Obama’s go-to man on race."
Photo of Al Sharpton: AP Images