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67 organizations to media: Drop SPLC

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

The Family Research Council and more than five dozen other conservative groups and individuals on Wednesday released a letter asking for news agencies to cut off their ties to the “discredited” Southern Poverty Law Center.

It’s because the group “has been exposed from within as having a culture of long-standing, long-ignored racial discrimination and sexual harassment,” FRC explained.

SPLC began as a do-good organization fighting the KKK and others. But it’s turned into what one commentator has called a “hate group” because it attacks and defames publicly any individual or group that does not align with promotion of the LGBT agenda, abortion and other progressive causes.

The letter addressed to news media, noted a similar request had been made in 2017, largely based on information that became public when SPLC paid $3.375 million to former Islamic radical Maajid Nawaz for labeling him an “extremist.”

“Richard Cohen, the SPLC’s president, also had to read and post online a humiliating apology to Nawaz that showed the reckless and careless nature of their misguided push to label him an extremist,” the letter to media explains.

But last month, SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees and a week later President Richard Cohen and legal director Rhonda Brownstein quit.

The letter cited a Los Angeles Times report that SPLC’s white leadership had “been wrestling with complaints of workplace mistreatment of women and people of color.”

The letter noted a black senior attorney, Meredith Horton, quit, writing a letter “decrying working conditions.” The statement apparently prompted many other staff members to support her.

SPLC must investigate and make public the letter from Horton, additional letters from SPLC staff and other unpublicized documents, the groups insisted.

Then it must name an investigator to examine allegations such as those in John Egerton’s historic series about SPLC and former worker Bob Moser’s claims in the New Yorker that workers knew they were “part of the con.”

“A responsible investigation must comb through the Pulitzer Prize-nominated series from the Montgomery Advertiser that was published in February 1994. It was a journalistic broadside that mostly bounced off the hull of the SPLC,” the letter said.

Then there are the claims of sexual harassment, the letter added.

“Today’s SPLC is aggressively anti-Christian and morally bankrupty – both inside and out. It attacks anyone who disagrees with its far-left agenda, smearing them with lies and grossly mischaracterizing their work,” the letter said.

“All the while SPLC has also been imploding from within, with allegations of sex and race discrimination.

“We call on all media, corporations, social media companies, and financial institutions to immediately stop relying on their discredited and partisan ‘hate’ and ‘extremist’ lists,” said the letter, signed by FRC’s Tony Perkins, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin, J. Kenneth Blackwell of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Gary Bauer of American Values, Ryan Mauro of Clarion Project, Michael Farris of Alliance Defending Freedom and many others.

Among the other signatories were leaders associated with Prager University, Center for Security Policy, American Freedom Law Center, Family Watch International, Eagle Forum, MassResistance, D. James Kennedy Ministries, Liberty Counsel, Jihad Watch, Media Research Center and American Freedom Defense Initiative.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., this week asked for the IRS to review the SPLC’s tax-exempt status, and the American Freedom Law Center sued two Michigan officials for a policy directive that targets groups based on SPLC’s hate-group designation.

In January, Cohen and Heidi Beirich were sued in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for Immigration Studies under the nation’s organized crime law for “falsely” designating CIS as a “hate group.”

Author and pundit John Stossel once called SPLC a hate group itself.

SPLC recently was sued by a lawyer who claims SPLC paid for stolen documents in an attempt to get him fired and destroy his future work prospects.

And a previous case brought against SPLC was settled by a payment of more than $3 million to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation, who sued after SPLC put them on its “hate” list.

As many as six dozen other organizations targeted by SPLC reportedly are considering legal responses.