Local reporter: “Looks like a combination of complaints regarding sexual harassment and racial biases in promotion and hierarchy led to this.”

I was critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center before it was cool to be critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

You can scroll through my posts about the SPLC dating back to 2009, including:

I was quoted in a Politico article about the SPLC in January 2017, and it pretty much summed up my view:

William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell and critic of the SPLC, says the group has wrapped itself in the mantle of the civil rights struggle to engage in partisan political crusading. “Time and again, I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents,” he says. “For groups that do not threaten violence, the use of SPLC ‘hate group’ or ‘extremist’ designations frequently are exploited as an excuse to silence speech and speakers,” Jacobson adds. “It taints not only the group or person, but others who associate with them.”

SPLC is part of a Coalition of left-wing activist groups calls on big tech to censor online speech.

SPLC has accumulated a massive endowment, far in excess of what it needed for its operations, as The Free Beacon reported recently:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left nonprofit known for its “hate group” designations, has surpassed a half billion dollars in total assets and now has $121 million parked offshore, according to the group’s most recent financial statements.

The SPLC, which is based in Montgomery, Ala., has not publicly posted its most recent financial statements on its website. However, the organization applied for renewal in the state of California days ago and submitted a number of documents pertaining to its financial standing including its most recent audited statement and tax forms for calendar year 2018, which covers Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2018.

According to the filings submitted to California’s Office of Attorney General, the group reported total assets of $518 million from November 2017 to the Oct. 31, 2018, an increase of $41 million from the $477 million in total assets it reported on its previous year’s tax forms.

The SPLC’s assets increased despite its total revenue falling by $15 million last year. The SPLC hauled in $136 million in total revenue throughout 2017. This number fell to $121 million in 2018. Its contributions and grants also fell by more than $20 million from 2017 to 2018, from $132 million to $111 million.

So I was not exactly heart-broken to learn today that Morris Dees, the co-founder of SPLC, was unceremoniously fired yesterday under circumstances suggesting impropriety. The Montgomery Advertiser broke the story today:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has fired Morris Dees, the nonprofit civil rights organization’s co-founder and former chief litigator.

SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement Dees’ dismissal was effective on Wednesday, March 13. When pressed for details on what led to the termination, the organization declined to elaborate.

“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” Cohen said in the emailed statement. “When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.” …


Dees’ termination is one of several steps taken by the organization this week, Cohen said.

“Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we’re taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve — one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected,” Cohen said.

So what’s going on here? A local reporter says he heard it was a #MeToo type problem, something Dees denies:

I was contacted by The NY Times for comment. I don’t know if they’ll include my comment in whatever story they run, so here it is:

I am glad to see Dees leave SPLC, whatever the reason. SPLC long ago focused on combating the Ku Klux Klan, but then abused the reputation it earned for those efforts by demonization of political opponents through the use of hate and extremist lists to stifle speech by people who presented no risk of violence. The SPLC lists, which in the past have included people such as Dr. Ben Carson and Rand Paul, now are weaponized by internet companies to suppress non-liberal speech. Good riddance to Dees.”

UPDATE

Here’s the Times quote:

“I am glad to see Dees leave S.P.L.C., whatever the reason,” William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School and an outspoken critic of the group, said on Thursday.

“S.P.L.C. long ago focused on combating the Ku Klux Klan, but then abused the reputation it earned for those efforts by demonizing political opponents through the use of hate and extremist lists to stifle speech by people who presented no risk of violence,” Mr. Jacobson said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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