The Southern Poverty Law Center once cast Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., as a “hater.”
James Hodgkinson, an SPLC fan, a short time later shot the congressman while he was practicing for a congressional baseball game.
And SPLC long has attacked the Family Research Council in Washington as a “hate” group for its support for traditional marriage.
Based on that smear, Floyd Corkins arrived at the group’s office with a pack full of ammunition, a gun and the intent to kill as many people as he could.
It seems there are consequences for the words of the left-wing group, which once had to back down in the face of widespread public outrage after labeling Dr. Ben Carson, one of the most admired men in the country, a “hater” for his religious views.
Now, SPLC is facing consequences.
National Review reported Monday SPLC reached a settlement with Islamic reformer Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation.
The report said SPLC wrongly included them on a list of “anti-Muslim extremists.”
SPLC has agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam $3.375 million “to fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism,” the report said.
The settlement apparently was the result of a demand letter Nawaz sent in April over his inclusion on SPLC’s “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” the report said.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center was wrong to include Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in our Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect,” said SPLC spokesman Richard Cohen. “We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.
“Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.”
Get the Whistleblower magazine’s revelations about SPLC in “The Hate Racket,” the story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.
SPLC had accused Nawaz of “savaging Islam,” in a diatribe similar to its attack on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali- and Muslim-born critic of the religion.
She advocates against female genital mutilation, a torture she endured as a child.
“It’s a shame that it took impending litigation for the Southern Poverty Law Center to finally set the record straight and admit it was wrong all along,” Megan Meier, a partner at Clare Locke, which represented Nawaz, told National Review.
“Quilliam and Mr. Nawaz do admirable work, and we are honored to have restored their reputations and achieved this victory on their behalf.”
Jeremy Tedesco, the vice president of U.S. advocacy for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said, “It’s appalling and offensive for the Southern Poverty Law Center to compare peaceful organizations which condemn violence and racism with violent and racist groups just because it disagrees with their views.
“That’s what SPLC did in the case of Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz, and that’s what it has done with ADF and numerous other organizations and individuals. This situation confirms once again what commentators across the political spectrum have being saying for decades: SPLC has become a far-left organization that brands its political opponents as ‘haters’ and ‘extremists’ and has lost all credibility as a civil rights watchdog,” he said.
“With eight wins in the last seven years at the U.S. Supreme Court and hundreds of victories for free speech at America’s public universities, ADF is one the nation’s most respected and successful legal advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life. SPLC’s sloppy mistakes have ruinous, real-world consequences for which they should not be excused,” Tedesco said.
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, said the settlement is “another example that the Southern Poverty Law Center is incapable at monitoring the very thing it claims to track.”
“No credible journalist should ever rely on the SPLC. The SPLC reeks with hateful, false, and defamatory rhetoric,” he said.
WND has reported in recently weeks the reliance of social media companies on SPLC for its assessment of conservative groups.
Several organizations, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Religious Freedom Coalition, have been ejected from the AmazonSmile promotional campaign because SPLC doesn’t accept their right to hold beliefs different from the leftist group.
But its actions also have prompted other lawsuits by groups that have been damaged by SPLC’s hate campaign.
Among them is Liberty Counsel, which has been targeted by SPLC through the charity-monitoring website GuideStar.
While SPLC famously battled the KKK many years ago, of late it has adopted the position that individuals and groups that don’t agree with its pro-homosexual, pro-abortion agenda are “haters.”
“SPLC is not a neutral watchdog organization,” said Michael Farris, ADF president. “Instead, it raises money by slandering people and organizations who disagree with its views. ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Amazon representatives to explain why they shouldn’t exclude us from the Amazon Smile program.”
Another spectacular recent failure for SPLC was an agreement by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to pay a $100,000 penalty to lawyers for state Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, who was investigated at the insistence of SPLC for his criticism of same-sex marriage.
SPLC targeted remarks Parker made several years ago in a radio interview that made no mention of any current cases. Parker is seeking the office of chief justice for the court.
The JIC, instead of tossing the complaint as frivolous, conducted a year-long investigation.
But according to a settlement agreement approved in federal court, the state organization will pay $100,000 in legal fees for Parker’s lawyers at Liberty Counsel, and it will stop enforcing the speech-restricting judicial rules.
“The SPLC’s sinister plan has backfired spectacularly,” said Horatio Mihet, chief litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel. “The SPLC’s effort to muzzle Justice Parker has instead brought freedom of expression on critical public issues to all judges in Alabama. We are glad that the JIC has finally seen the proverbial writing on the wall and has abandoned its defense and enforcement of these unconstitutional laws.”
The state rules, once common around the country, but abandoned as unconstitutional in virtually every jurisdiction, gave the JIC the power to prevent any judge from commenting on any case or issue pending anywhere in the nation.
SPLC’s complaint against Parker eventually was dropped, but Parker filed a separate federal legal action against the state, and a judge refused to submit to state pressure to drop the case.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center wanted to silence Justice Parker and remove him from the Alabama Supreme Court. Their ill intent backfired, and now Justice Parker has won the right for all judges to speak on important legal issues,” said Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver.
Many organizations consider SPLC discredited. The federal government cut off cooperation with the organization.
Judicial Watch said a letter to Michael M. Hethmon, senior counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and others, said the DOJ, under the leftist Barack Obama, even reprimanded SPLC in 2016 but it was “kept quiet at the agency’s request.”
“[It] involves the SPLC’s atrocious behavior during immigration court proceedings. Two groups that oppose illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), were the target of personal, baseless and below-the-belt attacks from SPLC attorneys during official immigration court proceedings. The SPLC filed a motion attacking and defaming the two respected nonprofits by describing them as ‘white supremacist,’ ‘eugenicist,’ ‘anti-Semitic,’ and ‘anti-Catholic.’ In its reprimand the DOJ says it is troubled by the conduct of SPLC lawyer Christopher Strawn and that his conduct ‘overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional,'” the report said.
Commentator John Stossel, in a WND column, joined the effort to expose SPLC.
“SPLC once fought useful fights. They took on the Ku Klux Klan. But now they go after people on the right with whom they disagree,” he wrote. “They call the Family Research Council a hate group because it says gay men are more likely to sexually abuse children. That’s their belief. There is some evidence that supports it. Do they belong on a ‘hate map,’ like the Ku Klux Klan, because they believe that evidence and worry about it?
“I often disagree with the council, but calling them a hate group is unfair. In my YouTube video this week, the group’s vice president, Jerry Boykin, tells me, ‘I don’t hate gay people. And I know gay people, and I have worked with gay people.'”
Stossel noted that lambasting someone with a “hate group” label makes them a target, referring to the attack on the Family Research Council by Corkins.
Stossel also noted SPLC smeared the Ruth Institute, “a Christian group that believes gays should no have an equal right to adopt children.”
The institute’s president, Jennifer Roback Morse, says they’re not “haters.”
“I like gay people. I have no problem with gay people. That’s not the issue. The issue is, what are we doing with kids and the definition of who counts as a parent,” she said.
For that, Stossel said, SPLC put the Ruth Institute on its “hate map.”
‘That led the institute’s credit card processor to stop working with them. In a letter to the institute, the processor company said that it had learned that the ‘Ruth Institute … promotes hate, violence, harassment and/or abuse,'” he reported.
Stossel said: “SPLC is now a hate group itself. It’s a money-grabbing slander machine.”
See Stossel’s video report on SPLC:
Last September, WND reported 47 conservative leaders urged members of the media across America to stop using “hit pieces” from SPLC.
The leaders included Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, Edwin Meese of the Heritage Foundation, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Boykin of the Family Research Council, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Michael Farris of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Frank Gaffney and Clare Lopez of the Center for Security Policy, Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, Frank Wright of D. James Kennedy Ministries, Scott Walter of the Capital Research Center, David Barton of WallBuilders, David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center, Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network, Tim Wildmon and Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, and Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND.com
An announcement about the letter charged SPLC “has recklessly labeled dozens of mainstream conservative organizations as ‘hate groups.'”