Rev. Al Sharpton is once again on the defensive after a New York Post article accused him of shaking down corporate CEOs through threats of boycotts.
The article, written by Isabel Vincent and Susan Edelman, alleges that CEOs have made large donations to Sharptons NAN (National Action Network) to placate the civil rights activist and prevent possible boycotts and accusations of racism.
Sharpton has released a statement through NAN Vice President Rachel Noerdlinger denying the claims made by the New York Post article.
"The New York Post continues its efforts to undermine the civil rights movement with articles that mislead the public. The New York Post reporter Isabel Vincent writes an article entitled "Sharpton Shakedown; Boycotted CEOs write checks to Rev. Al," even though the article had no evidence of shakedowns or corporations claiming that their contributions to NAN were in any way coerced or intended to buy silence,"
The piece names Anheuser-Busch, Macys, and Colgate-Palmolive as corporations that have given over $50, 000 in contributions to Sharpton in the past year.
While all the companies have denied these allegations, the article points to instances where corporations would hire Rev. Sharpton as an adviser after the Reverend threatened consumer boycotts.
In 1998 Sharpton warned of a consumer boycott against Pepsi for their lack of African-American ads.
Sharpton was subsequently brought on as a $25,000 a year adviser, a position he retained until 2007 according to the article.
Rev. Sharpton has invited Isabel Vincent to his national radio show to debate on her on the accusations listed in her article.
Sharpton wants the facts listed so people can judge for themselves whether she had any facts to substantiate her misleading headline and article in todays New York Post, or whether this was simply a hatchet job consistent with those made by individuals who are at odds with the civil rights movement, Noerdlinger said.
At press time Isabel Vincent has not responded to Sharptons challenge.