A new book challenges Americans to reconsider their support for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left civil rights organization, in light of a recent string of controversies regarding sexual harassment, racism, and the demonization of conservative groups.
Founded in 1971 with the goal of combating the Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC has been criticized in recent years for labeling many conservative Christian groups and public figures as hateful.
There were also recent reports of sexual harassment and racial discrimination last year within the organization, leading to the resignations of co-founder Morris Dees and President Richard Cohen.
PJ Media’s Senior Editor Tyler O’Neil, a former reporter with The Christian Post who has closely followed the SPLC, critiques the progressive group in his new book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, released last month by Post Hill Press.
In the Introduction to the book, O’Neil lays out the many documented blemishes on the record of the Montgomery, Alabama-based group.
“The SPLC singles out ‘hate’ on the far-right but not the far-left. It faced a very public sexual harassment and racial discrimination scandal. It has a history of raising far more money than it spends on programs and keeping millions in Cayman Island accounts,” wrote O’Neil.
“It has a malleable definition of hate that it applies to its political enemies. It has paid millions to settle a defamation lawsuit after acknowledging it falsely accused someone of being an extremist. Former staffers have admitted that the hate accusations leveled by the SPLC are a ‘con,’ a deceptive scheme to raise money.”
O’Neil talked with CP about his book, SPLC co-founder Morris Dees, and whether he believes the group is gaining ground in light of recent controversies. Below are excerpts from that interview.
CP: What led you to write this book?
O’Neil: [I was] surprised and shocked and indeed horrified by some of the things that they had been doing when it comes to demonizing conservative Christians and other conservatives by calling them “hate groups” and by encouraging big tech corporations, the media, and others to blacklist and demonize people just because the SPLC disagrees with them.
One of the most eye-opening situations was after Charlottesville when Apple decided to give them a million dollars and partner with them.
One of their speakers had a testimony before Congress asking big tech and the government to act against “hate groups” in the name of fighting white supremacist terrorism.
Of course, white supremacist terrorism is horrible, and condemning it and fighting it is a good idea, but the SPLC draws this ridiculous comparison to mainstream conservative groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, which not only have nothing to do with terrorism or white supremacy, they aren’t even spewing anything like this “hate” that they’re accused of.
CP: On the issue of the Charlottesville rally, do you believe it is common for the SPLC to benefit from tragedies like the “Unite the Right” rally?
O’Neil: From what I have seen, the answer to that question is very much yes. When the horrific Pittsburgh synagogue shooting took place, the Southern Poverty Law Center took the opportunity to blame Trump for it, despite the fact that the shooter hated Trump, that Trump has been a champion for Jews and for Israel.
They say, “Oh, Trump is responsible for hate and let’s use this as a cudgel.” I don’t know if they raised more money off of that, but they have traditionally benefited from these horrific events happening.
CP: You devoted a good deal of attention to Morris Dees the man, especially his past activism and his history of sexual misconduct allegations. Why did you feel it was important to include so many details on him?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski