In 2009 Mike Cheng and Ben Wang released “Aoki”, a documentary film that chronicled Richard Aoki’s rise to political prominence in the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. In response to a new report from the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Seth Rosenfeld this week offering evidence that Aoki may have worked as an FBI informant, the two filmmakers have released a sharp statement criticizing the allegations.
Writing that Rosenfeld is “armed with no evidence,” the filmmakers claim the following:
…it is unacceptable for Rosenfeld to discredit Richard’s integrity based on the unsubstantiated word of a deceased FBI agent and a document with redacted and vague information. Many individuals and media outlets have immediately accepted the claims of an author who is aggressively promoting his book without properly examining the evidence for themselves. Instead of automatically trusting questionable government sources and Rosenfeld’s sensationalist journalism, we must scrutinize what Rosenfeld states as fact. We urge Richard’s former comrades, friends, associates, the 600 plus mourners who packed Wheeler Auditorium to attend his memorial service, and anyone concerned with government infiltration of social justice movements to get involved. We must conduct our own research and publicly share our findings to determine the truth of the matter. Characterized by many as a man of great principle, consistency, and integrity, Richard wouldn’t have it any other way.
The film made no mention of Aoki working with the FBI.