Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Both a Terrible Place to Work and a Place That Does Terrible Work

Top executives are departing amidst reports of racial and sexual harassment.

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SPLC
Robert King/Polaris/Newscom

Controversy has struck the Southern Poverty Law Center, the formidable progressive law firm best known for tracking hate groups in the U.S. Co-founder Morris Dees, President Richard Cohen, and other top executives are exiting the organization amidst a staff uprising over alleged sexual and racial harassment in the work place.

The leadership shakeup, fueled by allegations that black staffers were shut out of key positions and that Dees personally harassed female staffers, has brought the SPLC considerable media scrutiny, and it's about time. Regardless of whether these specific accusations have merit, the SPLC should face a reckoning over its extremely shoddy work, which has mistakenly promoted the idea that fringe hate groups are a rising threat.

Peddling this false narrative has long been the SPLC's business model, and the Trump years have been especially profitable, since the group was almost perfectly positioned to capitalize on growing liberals fears about hate crimes, resurgent white nationalism, and the alt-right. Over the course of the Trump campaign and presidency, the SPLC has added dozens of staffers, saw its social media following rise dramatically, ramped up its fundraising, and built a $200 million endowment. Its role has been to provide intellectual support for a central narrative of the #Resistance: Hate, broadly defined, is surging across America, and Trump is to blame.

But the SPLC's hate tally is incredibly suspect, as leftist writer Nathan Robinson explained in a terrific article for Current Affairs. According to the SPLC's hate map, there were more than 1,000 hate groups in the U.S. in 2018—nearly twice as many as existed in 2000. The number has increased every year since 2014.

The map is littered with dots that provide more information on each specific group, and this is where the SPLC gives away the game. Consider a random state—Oklahoma, for example, is home to nine distinct hate groups, by the SPLC's count. Five of them, though, are black nationalist groups: the Nation of Islam, Israel United in Christ, etc. The SPLC counts each chapter of these groups separately, so the Nation of Islam counts as two separate hate groups within Oklahoma (its various chapters in other states are also tallied separately). The map makes no attempt to contextualize all of this—no information is given on the relative size or influence of each group.

In his piece, Robinson describes the map as an "outright fraud," and it's hard to argue with him:

In fact, when you actually look at the hate map, you find something interesting: Many of these "groups" barely seem to exist at all. A "Holocaust denial" group in Kerrville, Texas called "carolynyeager.net" appears to just be a woman called Carolyn Yeager. A "male supremacy" group called Return of Kings is apparently just a blog published by pick-up artist Roosh V and a couple of his friends, and the most recent post is an announcement from six months ago that the project was on indefinite hiatus. Tony Alamo, the abusive cult leader of "Tony Alamo Christian Ministries," died in prison in 2017. (Though his ministry's website still promotes "Tony Alamo's Unreleased Beatles Album.") A "black nationalist" group in Atlanta called "Luxor Couture" appears to be an African fashion boutique. "Sharkhunters International" is one guy who really likes U-boats and takes small groups of sad Nazis on tours to see ruins and relics. And good luck finding out much about the "Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology," which—if it is currently operative at all—is a tiny anti-Catholic cult based in Shawano, Wisconsin.

Sloppily tallying hate in service of a greater narrative is par for the course at the SPLC. The group's report on Trump-inspired schoolyard bullying is similarly flawed: Its survey was unscientific, and based on anecdotes reported by members of the SPLC's mailing list.

When it comes to misleading hate crime data, the SPLC is far from the only offender. Many in the media have exaggerated a finding by the Anti-Defamation League that anti-Semitic hate has increased 57 percent under Trump. (Bomb threats made by an Israeli teenager were largely responsible for the perceived increase: anti-Semitic assaults actually decreased substantially.) The FBI's hate crime data has also been widely mischaracterized.

Still, the SPLC stands out. It previously characterized Maajid Nawaz as an anti-Muslim extremist—but Nawaz is a progressive whose work is aimed at de-radicalizing Muslim extremists. To this day, the SPLC lists Charles Murray's ideology as "white nationalist."

Over at National Review, David French urges the SPLC to "rediscover its roots." The organization used to do much more work aligned with its name: representing impoverished death row inmates, for example, and battling the KKK in court. It has plenty of money, and could hire an army of lawyers to really make a difference in the lives of criminal defendants. But first, the organization needs to give up on the project of inflating the threat posed by fringe nutcases.

NEXT: Doctor Convicted of Child Abuse Still Getting $100,000 Annual Taxpayer-Funded Pension

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  1. All of this has been true for decades. Yet, the media ignored it and pretended the SPLC was a serious organization. Why all of the sudden have they decided to tell the truth about it? It would be nice if someone would bother to explain that or show some contrition for enabling this con for so many years.

    1. Good questions. Maybe it’s just another #metoo thing. But maybe there are deeper issues at play.

      But no one in the media will ever admit they were wrong.

      1. I think it’s both #metoo and the founder getting old. Maybe there’s some senility setting in and his bigotry got too open to ignore; then once he was gone, the second-in-command was the first domino.

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        2. Also, there are a LOT of lawsuits against the SPLC, both recent and pending, where the SPLC has lost or seems likely to lose. That’s gonna make defending them increasingly difficult. Now, that kind of tactical thinking isn’t usual for the mainstream media; they tend to hang onto Teh Narrative well beyond its sell date. But it does happen from time to time that the Media recognize that this isn’t the time to go down with the ship.

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    3. My exact thought. For the last 5 years especially Southern Poverty Lie Center has been drunk with power, and encouraged by the fawning media. It HAS to be that someone discovered how bull-shitty their “hate map” info is/was. Probably a friend or college dean ended up on a list and the media quietly started walking back their endorsement before this defection.

    4. Put aside the media for a second, under Obummy the FED BEAST Govt. relied on The Southern Preposterous Law Center for a lot of referrals & ammo against people they did not like!!

    5. “Why all of the sudden”

      What the fuck? All of “the” sudden?

  2. Occam’s razor —- Is the SPLC a legitimate, honest, trustworthy organization, really dedicated to helping the little guy.

    Or is it a giant slush fund for left wing causes, a smear factory for leftist policy, and a feel good for gullible white liberals.

    1. Or a giant slush fund for Morris Dees.

      1. Or even a Rick Dees.

        1. No don’t you start hate crimin’ on my Disco Duck.

          1. “Shake your tail feathers” is demeaning and sexist rhetoric from the white duck patriarchy! /sarc

  3. top executives are exiting the organization amidst a staff uprising over alleged sexual and racial harassment in the work place

    Inconceivable!

    1. Shocking – they’re racist and sexist white men who have the white privilege with toxic masculinities !!!

    2. So now the SPLC is going to be on the SPLC list?

      1. Au contraire….sexual harrassment is how they let the other employee know they are interested in fucking them.

  4. There’s less money in funding lawyers for poor people is than there is in confirming rich people’s fears.

  5. From the French Article

    There was a time when it would represent indigent death-row inmates, for example, and there remains ample opportunity to do good for America’s poorest citizens

    Every death row inmate in the country gets a gold plated defense team paid for by the state. What the hell do they need the SPLC for? French is such an dishonest idiot. He is the absolutely worst writer on the right these days.

    1. Does that even contradict his point? That snippet is just implying that the SPLC could actually be doing some good for people, rather than just being a scaremongering slush fund.

      1. It was always a scam. It never did good work. Notice, French doesn’t actually give any concrete examples of it doing any good work.

        1. Got it. Your contention is more with his claim that they once did good.

    2. Gold-plated my ass. There was a time when the defense got $300 if they were lucky, and it wasn’t that long ago. It’s probably better now, but government prosecutors always have more money than government public defenders.

      1. Not in death penalty cases. Trying a death penalty case requires special certification. An ordinary criminal defense attorney can’t do it. Death cases get all kinds of attention and resources thrown at the defense. It is the only way to have a prayer of it sticking on appeal.

        1. Yes there were, in some southern states, it was quite the scandal for a while.

          1. And perhaps the reason why it is as John describes now.

    3. “Every death row inmate in the country gets a gold plated defense team paid for by the state.” A little exaggerated, but not very. However, that ‘gold plated defense team, paid for by the state’ is also deeply TIED to the state, and prey to divided loyalties. There are state attorney generals who are trying to clean house, get shut of shoddy lab work, and right wrongs involving non-disclosure of relevant evidence, but they re in the minority. An organization that did what the SPLC started out doing would have plenty of work.

  6. >>>Over at National Review, David French

    was boring, so I left … years ago. here is better.

    >>> But first, the organization needs to give up on the project of inflating the threat posed by fringe nutcases.

    it’s an *organization* … gonna go South eventually pun not intended

  7. David French urges the SPLC to “rediscover its roots.”

    Conservative cucks types have this weird tic of believing everything shitty was actually great until 5 minutes ago. The SPLC was obviously an affinity scam when I was in high school in the 90’s.

    1. It wasn’t even founded until 1971. By the early 1970s the Klan was a joke populated mostly by FBI informants. French makes it sound like they started in the 30s trying to stop lynchings or something. He is such a disgrace.

      1. That its name is one letter different than the SCLC is a giant neon “fraud” sign to people with half a brain.

        French makes it sound like they started in the 30s trying to stop lynchings or something.

        Yep. It was always lawfare against 2 hillbillies and 5 feds LARPING in some trailer park for the purpose of raising money from Northeastern liberals.

        1. I always thought it a bit fishy that the NCLC’s initials were so similar to those of the SCLC.

        2. LARPing….lulz

    2. I don’t know any conservatives that have ever had a good opinion about SPLC. Everyone knows they were a,ways a propaganda and shakedown operation.

  8. So… white Democrats have been abusing blacks for fun and profit?

    1. Yes.

    2. So…white Republicans have been abusing all races for fun and profit?

      Hint: There are good and bad folks all around, Bubba.

      1. “So…white Republicans have been abusing all races for fun and profit?”

        Yes, there are some outliers, but it isn’t anywhere near typical. Democrats have abused and exploited blacks for two hundred years in one form or another. It’s part of their DNA.

      2. The reference to white Democrats being anti-black is a historically provable fact, not casual slander.

        1. As is the reference to Republicans. Shall we spend our time firing volleys of examples at each other? Shocking as it may be to some on this website, Southern Democrats of the Civil War, Reconstruction, & Jim Crow eras would be Republicans today. Remember when Strom Thurmond became a Republican after the passage of the Civil Rights Act to join Republicans in opposition.

          Who opposed desegregation in public places and demonstrated the Republican party’s contempt for black people? Goldwater, the Republican presidential nominee. Who ate their own by accusing John McCain of fathering “an illegitimate black child”? Republicans. Who, to this day, routinely defends white supremacists? Republicans (Trump, Steve King). Who called a black man at a rally a “thug” even though the man was actually a supporter? Trump.

          No doubt you can post examples of racist Democrats. That’s my point. Bad folks all around. But casually, and lazily, arguing that contemporary Democrats abuse “blacks for fun and profit” is moronic, if the point is to defend the contemporary Republican party’s record on race.

          1. Mendacious bullshit. Try looking up who opposed the various Civil Rights Acts before 1964 just for starters. Hint: it wasn’t the Republicans. Goldwater didn’t oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because he had “contempt for black people”, it was because he didn’t think businesses should be forced to be desegregated any more than they should be forced to be segregated, also known as Jim Crow.

            That’s a libertarian position on the part of Goldwater. You’re a fuckwit liar that’s unworthy of polishing Goldwater’s boots.

            Trump is his own special kind of idiot, but even he is less racist than most of the Democratic leadership.

            1. Check and mate. Nice.

  9. Uh oh: Rand Paul just heard from a ‘high-level’ source about John Brennan, and he wants him on Capitol Hill ‘ASAP’

    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he has heard from a source that it was former CIA director John Brennan who insisted that the bogus Steele dossier be used in an intelligence report.

    BREAKING: A high-level source tells me it was Brennan who insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier be included in the Intelligence Report… Brennan should be asked to testify under oath in Congress ASAP.

    1. I see no reason to think that isn’t true. Do you?

      1. None at all. In a just world, Brennan would be rotting in a cell somewhere.

        1. Yes. Brennen is just a criminal.

          1. Brennen is a communist traitor.

        2. Watch how quickly dems run from the idea of transparency on this.

      2. The part about Brennan being forced to testify truthfully to Congress is definitely not true.

        1. Well, there is that.

    2. In all fairness to the CIA, they have been interfering with elections for decades.

      See what happens when we removed the wall that kept the CIA from operating domestically after 9/11?

  10. If black and brown bodies working for the SPLC feel undervalued, that’s worth addressing. However we Koch / Reason libertarians shouldn’t dismiss everything the organization does. Just look ? they have an entire section devoted to immigrant justice.

    Immigrants are increasingly forced to live in fear of the deportation dragnet. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have illegally and unfairly apprehended immigrants with disregard for their rights.

    #OpenBorders
    #AbolishICE
    #NoBanNoWall

    1. The SPLC has labeled every organization they disagree with as a “Hate Group:”

      Here’s some of their findings.

      Antifa – Not a Hate Group.
      Palestinian terrorist group Hamas – Not a Hate Group

      Family Research Council – Hate Group.
      Atlas Shrugs Website – Hate Group

      Do you see a trend? But, you like their stance on immigration. I guess that’s cause to ignore the fact that they smear good people, organizations, and even charities.That they use their fear-mongering super powers to promote anger and hate, as they point their righteous fingers at everybody they don’t like.

      1. OBL is a parody. Haha, you fell for it!

        1. To be fair… ChemJeff, The Rev, Moneyshot, Ordinary Person and Eric sound almost exactly like OBL and they aren’t parodies. When ChemJeff, OP and Moneyshot get in one of their little love fest it makes you puke a little in your mouth… Oh O forgot SimonP.

          1. And then there is the unpleasant subject of Tony.

          2. Sometimes I think Kirkland’s a parody because he almost never addresses the topic, he just calls everyone rubes, clingers and other names from the DNC hatebook.
            But once in a while he’ll try to make an argument, usually for something particularly loathsome and maggoty, like a true believer.

            1. Rev Artie Kirtland aka RAK aka Royal Arse Kisser is at least consistent although rarely coherent.

            2. Kirkland also likes to issue vague threats about some unspecified comeuppance we’re all gonna get when our “betters” take their rightful place as pur masters. He never elaborates.

  11. “When you become a famous hate group hunter not only do the let you grab their pussies but they give you gobs of cash to boot” – Morris Dees, Great White Hate Hunter,OEOEO.

    1. +1 TMZ

    2. love it.

  12. Hey, the Southern Poverty Law Center doesn’t come to where you work and muss your swooshy hair.

  13. Imagine being such a brain dead moron that you worked all day, went home, and wrote a check to this dumpster fire of an organization. No wonder leftists are so miserable

  14. What a coincidence. I just happened to be listening to this podcast about Gavin McInnes suing them.

  15. This is vicious and vile antisemitism.

    1. You, sir, are a fucking weirdo.

  16. If you go off of the FBI’s hate crime statistics, in most years white people only commit around half of hate crimes, and black people commit 20-25%, which means black people are more than twice as likely to commit a hate crime as white people. So either black people really are more likely to commit hate crime, of the entire system of hate crimes is counterproductive and actually TARGETS black people instead of helping the people it was created to protect. Either way all hate crime laws should be abolished.

  17. Hey, baby. How would you like Dees’ nuts in your mouth?

    Fired? What the hell for??

    1. Obvious, but I laughed anyway.

      1. Now if we can just bring his brother to justice for this atrocity

    2. “”Fired? What the hell for??”‘ I had a jar of Planter’s in my hands. Planter, I hardly know her!

      1. “And I made a hilarious joke about planters and plantations, but now that’s supposedly racially offensive!”

        1. That’s what happens when one comments about the Progressive Plantations (Marxist Utopias) with their Elitist Masters, Uncle Tom Overseers, and Proletariat Serfs. It upsets the narrative from the Progressive Propagandists previously known as the Main Stream Media.

  18. Controversy has struck the Southern Poverty Law Center

    Officers’ weapons were discharged, bystanders were struck. It’s just something that happens and nobody’s responsible, nobody can predict where and when fate might strike.

    How about “Karma’s a bitch and it looks like the execrable SPLC might be getting their long-overdue comeuppance in being exposed as the race-hustling frauds that they are.”

    1. I wonder how many people of color are aware that the SPLC is calling them out in ridiculous ways too?

      ” A “black nationalist” group in Atlanta called “Luxor Couture” appears to be an African fashion boutique””

      1. Luxor is in Egypt, which used to be a British colony. Black nationalists can have white privilege, too. Or something.

      2. “Luxor Couture” is such a pitch perfect name for a place that sells dashikis and purple suits and shit. How could somebody who works for a black advocacy organization not know that? (Yes, the answer is obvious)

  19. Well I, for one, am SHOCKED that a vile piece of shit organization like the SPLC has been run by lowlife scumbags all along!

  20. Liberals/Progressives will continue to send checks to the SPLC because it’s results fit their prejudices.

  21. “…The SPLC counts each chapter of these groups separately, so the Nation of Islam counts as two separate hate groups within Oklahoma (its various chapters in other states are also tallied separately)…”

    So when you play golf with these guys, you keep their score, too.

  22. In order to shed the negative image of the SPLC brand, we will now be known as the Judean People’s Front.

    1. Not the Popular Front?

  23. “David French urges the SPLC to “rediscover its roots.””

    In the sense that roots tend to be in the dirt, maybe French is on to something….the organization should go back to where its roots are.

  24. The SPLC the the number one hate group in America.

  25. “All that said, the SPLC count isn’t completely useless”- Jesse Walker

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  28. I would be very careful about calling Maajid Nawaz a progressive. He’s so progressive that he has a lot in common with the more anti-Semitic wing of Labour (despite supposedly being secular and not a Muslim) with regards to circumcision.

    1. Genital butchery of children should properly carry a death penalty offense. “Religion” stops with mutilation, rape and murder.

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  31. Ironically, the SPLC itself is probably the biggest hate group.

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  33. But first, the organization needs to give up on the project of inflating the threat posed by fringe nutcases.

    If they did that, they’d be left with a ton of hate crimes by the Left, and almost none by the Right.

    Which would destroy their fundraising.

    And the SPLC really IS “all about the Benjamins”

  34. Can you faggots do something about the spam?

  35. Additionally, I’m pretty sure any real surge in hate groups is largely attributable to all the attention given to them lately. Give frothing national attention to a dozen losers from nowhere marching with tiki torches and you make them look way more influential than they actually are.

  36. Well said, Robbie. Nice to meet you recently in Phoenix.

    My computer people tell me these buggers have been enlisted to define hate groups for Google?….FaceBook?… and others? …. in their search for setting up AI bots that can exterminate free speech as “hate” speech. If you are not onto this, it is time someone does focus on it. My people tell me that the GOOG and FB crowd can legitimately say they have no idea what their bots are exterminating or why. It is presumably that far “advanced”. I must admit I personally do not know. But I trust my main computer guy totally. With good reason. Thoughts?

    1. Well said, Robbie. Nice to meet you recently in Phoenix.

      Tell me more
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      Like did he have a car?

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      Did you get very far?

  37. True, one of the biggest collections of racists there is.

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