There’s tensions within the movement after prominent Milwaukee Black Lives Matter leader Frank Nitty was accused of using a homophobic slur during a recent march to Washington D.C. to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. Nitty responded by accusing “you gay people” of being “too sensitive” and saying he was going to block critics from his Facebook Live stream.
The issue has sparked intense debate among BLM activists and liberals on Facebook; thus far, Nitty has enjoyed generally favorable press. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel previously wrote that Nitty, real name Frank Sensabaugh, “has become one of the more distinctive faces — and voices — of the movement in Milwaukee.” In that profile, the newspaper wrote that Nitty and BLM leader Khalil Coleman “see themselves as a team, sort of like Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, the star player guided by the star coach.” Wisconsin Right Now has reached out to him through his Facebook page to give him a chance to comment.
A Facebook user named Bayley Freyja wrote a lengthy post about the new controversy on August 16 on Facebook on the page of an activist group, writing, “This really hurt my heart as someone who’s supported this movement since it started. If ya’ll really want to kick me out of this group and Frank wants to block me for saying ‘hey, Im 100% behind you but please don’t drop the f*gg*t word’ on his live, that is 100% fine because I understand not wanting to be criticized when you were attacked in the first place.”
What did Nitty say?
His live video stream, viewed by Wisconsin Right Now, captured him calling someone a “white boy,” and a “cracker man” and a “f*ggot” as he marched past a home with a white man on a porch. He said, “Black Lives Matter white boy,” at one point in the video. That video was shared in the comment thread discussion on a second video, which was posted to the group The New Milwaukee (Peaceful protests for change.) A comment thread writer defended Nitty, saying he was called the “n” word first by the man he called the terms. “This video sums it up. He’s being called (n word) and antagonized and in the heat of the moment he calls the man the f word,” a comment writer wrote.
In the second video, Nitty gives his side, saying, “Yeah and the gay people out marching with me, they call me f**got. We’re friends. I don’t care about that sh*t. if you’re sensitive get your as* off my live. This is for the thick skinned. Be more concerned about him calling me (the n word) and f*ck you and all that sh*t than what I call somebody back. The gay people I’m with say you gay people too sensitive.”
You can view one of the videos below, but be aware that it contains language some people find offensive.
“I’m going to start blocking you all. I’m going to remove you myself. You got a problem with how I do things you don’t have to watch my live,” Nitty said on the video as controversy ensued.
Nitty wrote on Facebook on August 16 that the group of Milwaukeeans was currently in Ohio. “Day 13 of 24… This is the revolution.. We wont stop until we get change!!” he wrote. According to Fox 6, the Milwaukee marchers left for DC on August 5, with Nitty telling the station they’re walking 750 miles, “honoring the families who lost loved ones to police violence.”
The march hasn’t been without other controversy. Nitty, Tory Lowe and a third man were arrested during the march. He then bonded out of jail, Fox 6 reported. You can read more about that incident here.
Freyja Was ‘Shell Shocked by His Choice of Words’ Referring to Frank Nitty, Milwaukee Leader
Freyja continued, “Look, Frank is a good guy with a heart of gold and my intentions are not to detract attention from this part of the movement, I just need to speak on this because I think it’s important. ***Trigger warning: there is going to be a hurtful slur included in this post***”
Here’s the rest of Freyja’s post:
I get he said it in the heat of the moment and that man was being racist and hateful, and I understand that and I would have a hard time not reacting in anger either. I just was shell shocked at his choice of words and how dismissive he was to the LGBT+ people/allies in the live comments who said something about it. He is one of the leaders of this movement and he has been so kind and loving in most of the streams I’ve watched so it just really winded and blindsided me when I saw this today. I have been with this movement and supported and done what I could as someone who is disabled and not able to march to educate everyone I could around me ignorant to this movement, and raise the black voices around me because I whole heartedly love BLM and won’t ever stop standing with the movement but as a member of LGBT+ community it all just really hit me hard. Frank told us in the live that his marches are not for the sensitive and that other LGBT+ people in his marches are cool with him dropping the F word because they know what he means by it ( ? ), and to some extent I understand where he is coming from but a lot of us that have showing this movement love for years are also part of the LGBT+ community as well. You can’t sit here and fight pure hatred with more hatred and preach that your marches are peaceful. That is not what I thought this was about. I’m sorry ya’ll but I might have to just go. I still love you all and will pray you make it to DC safely and put the best energy towards the movement. Maybe I AM too sensitive for Franks marches if he is going to use slurs like that, this really hurts my heart and I love Frank and I love the part of the movement he is leading. That being said, I still want to support Frank’s part of the movement from afar but Im not sure that’s an option anymore since he threatened to block those of us that said something about it. Black LGBT+Lives Matter Too 🏳️🌈 I love you all and I honor what Frank is doing but I think he needs to find more compassion in his heart around why that word is hurtful.
Freyja wrote in the comment thread, “no think I gotta go, he will probably be blocking me shortly anyways. peace be with you though.”
Candida Kora wrote on the comment thread, “For real. I was blocked too from the live.” Nitty called Kora out by name in the video.
Freyja continued, “…he said we are too sensitive and other LGBT+ supporters in his marches are fine with it and if we are sensitive to get off his live and that we weren’t acknowledging what slurs the man said as well and that he was blocking us all. He said this movement aint for us if we are sensitive.”
Several people alleged it had happened before with Kendra Ruth writing, “this happened again????? like idk who is giving him permission to use that word but they don’t speak for the entire lgbtq community so he shouldn’t be using it period.”
Dina Mujakovic alleged, “this is not the first time it happened and not the first time it was called out. It is a continued behavior now.”
Hugo Beam wrote, “‘My friends are OK with me saying it’ So, if I get permission to use the N word I’m allowed?” Camille Ward wrote, “People are reporting my comments and blocking me for sharing my personal experience and views on this man. Last I checked this group is not called the Frank Nitty group. We do not have to worship and dismiss anything this man does just because he is an activist and a great one at that. He is making change and he is doing good, but just like any of us he has said hateful things on the regular.”
“I just lost all respect for him,” Kayla Wilde wrote.