Southern Poverty Law Center Fires Founder For Unspecified Reasons, Says He ‘Failed To Meet’ Standards Of Organization

Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees of 'Hate in America' speaks onstage during the Discovery Communications TCA Winter 2016 at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 7, 2016 in Pasadena, California.
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery Communications
 

The discredited “anti-hate” group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) fired its co-founder and chief litigator Morris Dees for a “personal” issue that didn’t reflect “the mission of the organization” or its values.

 

A statement from the organization’s president, Richard Cohen, published by the Montgomery Advertiser, states that Dee’s employment was terminated “effective yesterday.”

“Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated. 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. 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,” the statement said.

The SPLC has become in recent years an organization seemingly dedicated to labeling as “hate” anything that doesn’t align with its radical views. In 2018, the organization paid Maajid Nawaz $3.375 million for falsely labeling him an “anti-Muslim extremist” for his criticism of radical Islam.

At least 60 other organizations filed lawsuits against the organization after this settlement.

 

More of the organization’s failures were detailed last year by The Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

The group also labeled former neurosurgeon, Republican presidential candidate and current secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as author and American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray as extremists among white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

 

In 2017, Murray’s designation on the website led to angry protests at Middlebury College while he spoke, and a liberal professor who stood up for Murray's right to free speech was sent to the hospital. The organization also labeled the Christian organization Family Research Council on its “hate map,” and two years later a man went to their office to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces.” The man told FBI agents he picked FRC from the SPLC website.

It is still unknown what Dees did to get fired, but that will certainly be revealed eventually. In the meantime, the SPLC said it would bring “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.”

Full statement below:

Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated. 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. 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.

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.

The SPLC is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment.

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