SPLC, Morris Dees, and Their Hypocritical Facade
The organization dumped its cofounder over allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
We have written at length about the so-called “Southern Poverty Law Center,” which has nothing to do with the South, poverty, or the law.
The SPLC was founded by a marketer and self-promoter, Morris Dees, who perfected the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton race-bait shakedown model for extorting money from corporations. Despite his social-justice-crusader cape, his former law partner, Millard Fuller, said of their years in business: “Morris and I shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money. We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.” The examples of how “not particular” they were included defending racists whose legal fees were paid by the KKK.
In a moment of honesty, JoAnn Wypijewski of the leftist Nation magazine once described Dees as a “millionaire huckster.” According to Harper’s Ken Silverstein, the SPLC exists “to separate wealthy liberals from their money.” And Dees used those funds to build his “Poverty Palace” offices and exotic luxury home.
Last week, Dees’s unmitigated arrogance caught up with him and, according to The Washington Post, he was fired. SPLC President Richard Cohen, an equally leftist hack handpicked by Dees, noted that under Dees, the organization lacked “truth, justice, equity and inclusion.”
The Los Angeles Times reported: “A letter signed by about two dozen employees—and sent to management and the board of directors before news broke of Dees’ firing—said they were concerned that internal ‘allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.’”
For much of the SPLC’s history, it was an obscure collector and disseminator of mostly open-source news about racist organizations — fascist and anarchist groups with a handful of members whom Dees mislabeled as “right wing.” But as we noted in our coverage of the mass murder in New Zealand last week, “There’s nothing uniquely ‘right wing’ about racism or nationalism. The ideological spectrum is better understood as circular, not as linear. And in that sphere, fascism occupies the space between Left and Right.”
But Dees is an archetypal “useful idiot,” a hypocrite who lives high on the hog while embracing Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collectivism.
Consequently, on the political spectrum, the SPLC falls in the increasingly narrow gap between the Democrat Party and the Communist Party USA — reflecting Dees’s personal views. At the time he was founding the SPLC, he also served as national finance director for the presidential campaigns of leftist George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and uber-leftist Ted Kennedy when he was seeking the nomination to run against Ronald Reagan.
The SPLC was largely unknown until the last decade, when Dees promoted it as the go-to organization for Leftmedia outlets and social-media giants for SPLC’s rankings of hate groups. Most of those groups were correctly labeled in prior years, but, increasingly, Dees has made a practice of rating organizations and people as “haters” because they do not comport with his views. Among many examples would be his labeling of the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom as “hate groups.”
After the election of Donald Trump, and the epidemic of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” that followed, Dees capitalized on the Left’s “Hate Trump” wave. Predictably, SPLC’s Hate Watch list jumped to more than 1,000 groups.
Given the SPLC’s rising status as the arbiter of what constitutes “hate” for media platforms, it has become an insidiously dangerous organization. And consistent with his “overriding purpose of making a pile of money,” Dees has turned that star status into cash. The SPLC’s slush fund “endowment” is now more than $500 million — some of which is reportedly maintained in offshore accounts.
Dees has been terminated and even his bio has disappeared from the SPLC website. But a day after he was fired, his successors at the SPLC were doing what they do best: fundraising on the blood of innocents. They broadcasted an email to their list not to explain Dees’s firing but to fulminate about the New Zealand attack, declaring that “this hatred is even being amplified by our own president.”