SLPC Fires Co-Founder Morris Dees

Becca Reese

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/03/14/southern-poverty-law-center-fires-co-founder-declines-say-what-hes-alleged-have-done/?utm_term=.c980687d1dea


Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder, declines to say what he’s alleged to have done


The Southern Poverty Law Center fired co-founder and chief litigator Morris Dees on Wednesday, the civil rights organization announced.

In a Thursday statement, SPLC President Richard Cohen stressed the importance of “ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world.”

“When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action,” Cohen wrote. The statement did not offer specifics on the circumstances behind Dees’s termination. When pressed for more details on the decision, a spokesman for SPLC said he couldn’t “comment on the details of individual personnel” and did not anticipate any further statements on the matter.

In its story on the firing, the Montgomery Advertiser cited its 1994 investigation into the nonprofit advocacy group, in which staffers accused Dees of being a racist and alleged “discriminatory treatment of black employees.” The SPLC denied claims of racism raised in the series, the Advertiser reported

The SPLC statement continued, “Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we’re taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve — one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected."

Dees told the Associated Press his firing involved a “personnel issue,” but declined to offer more information.

“I think the Southern Poverty Law Center is a very fine group and I devoted nearly 50 years of my life to it and I’m proud of its work,” Dees told the AP. “About being fired, all I can say is it wasn’t my decision and I wish the center the best.”

Founded in the deep south on the heels of the civil rights movement, the Southern Poverty Law Center began as a small firm dedicated to fighting racism and segregation. Dees co-founded the organization in 1971 with Joseph Levin. Jr., and in the 48 years since, it has grown into a large and influential advocacy organization, cited by news outlets and lawmakers, with a revenue of more than $120,000,000, according to 2017 tax documents.

Dees’s biography was scrubbed from the SPLC’s website by Thursday afternoon, but a cached version of the page lists awards he received and lauds him for “innovative lawsuits that crippled some of America’s most notorious white supremacist hate groups.”

He famously represented the family of Michael Donald, a black 19-year-old who was brutally murdered and then hanged at the hands of the United Klans of America. The family was awarded $7 million in damages in 1987, effectively bankrupting United Klans. Donald’s mother was awarded the Klans’ only asset, their national headquarters building in Tuscaloosa.

In 2006, the National Law Journal named Dees one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States

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dockside_gw

So? It appears that the SPLC (not SLPC as in the title here) quickly handled an issue involving a high-up person which would reflect poorly on the organization were he not fired. I suspect it may have had something to do with sexual harassment. Be that as it may, good on the SPLC.

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Becca Reese

Seems like you've cracked the case, dockside.

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d_gw

Oh, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the evening. Anyone remember Tucker Carlson? You know, that FOX news guy who joked about child rape? Does he still have a job?

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catkinZ8a

Yes!


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Becca Reese

Yup!

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Becca Reese

I smell fear...

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Olychick

Fear, as the tiny last shred of decency on the frw disappears.

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Becca Reese

Deflection. Must be concerned.

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patriciae_gw(07)

He did something wrong and was fired even though he was a founder. Now that is integrity which it seems some here are having problems recognizing.

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catkinZ8a

Tucker! (Russia) Tucker! (Russia) Tucker! (Russia)

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elvis

The Poverty League probably wants to distance themselves from the guy, but too late. Every story about the scandal will loudly link the two.

One letter — signed by about two dozen employees and sent to the board of directors before news broke of Dees’ firing — said that internal “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.”

https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-splc-morris-dees-20190314-story.html

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

"Poverty League" is not the name of the organization.

.

The SPLC has decades of good work that stands independent of Dees.

.

I have contributed to the SPLC for decades.

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cattyles

It’s one of the charities I give to, also. Whatever happened, sounds like it was handled.

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Zalco/bring back Sophie!

I have contributed as well. Apparently a lot of us have. SPLC has $450M according to the WSJ.

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margievank

I sure hope not!

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Ziemia(6a)

He did something wrong.

He is fired.

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Ziemia(6a)

This is what I get when googling "Poverty League".

The stats are not good.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/these-rich-countries-have-high-levels-of-child-poverty/

If only we were closer to Canada.

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artemis_ma

I haven't seen anything about this case until here on HT (and we know how reliable HT is) but if the organization he founded let him go... sounds like there may have been due cause. Since I'm not currently funding them (I did so briefly in the 80s), and I've got lots of other things to do, I'll get around to researching this when I get around to it.

However, I'm writing here because if the other members found Morris Dees to be in violation, this sounds like a positive thing for an organization to be able to do (ie, remove him), if he is indeed at fault. And no reason for the RW to puppy pile on the organization per se.


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cattyles

Is it defamation if it’s true?

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adoptedbyhounds

He did something wrong and was fired.

Where is the deep digging by the press to find out what he did? Was it a single incident? An ongoing matter? Those loyal donors who have been giving over the years seem curiously uninterested.

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elvis

And no reason for the RW to puppy pile on the organization per se.

Unless a lot of posts have been deleted, that hasn't happened, artemis.

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adoptedbyhounds

He was fired for some reason. Nobody knows what. It is, which seems a bit odd since this story has been out for a couple of days. The organization may have been right or wrong in doing so. Still wondering why our MSM is so clueless. Maybe it knows the reason, but doesn’t want donors to know.

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Becca Reese

abh, it's been 3 days or so, which is an eternity when it comes to explaining why Dees was fired.

The lack of transparency from SPLC only further reduces their legitimacy, whatever they still had of it.

The irony is that an organization which delivers consequences for not being "good" obviously has something bad going on, and they are covering it up.


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Becca Reese

abh, where are the inquiries? Who's calling for answers?

No one, it appears.

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elvis

Some are paying attention. This is from an interesting little article:

For fair-minded observers, this has been a bad week for the credibility of the two most aggressive (and punitive) “watchdogs” of the right — Media Matters and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Thanks to Peter Hasson at the Daily Caller News Foundation, we discovered the stunning hypocrisy of Media Matters president Angelo Carusone. The man who helms an organization that combs through the past of every conservative public figure looking for evidence of hate and bigotry has his own history of hateful posts.

And now the SPLC faces its own internal challenge. Yesterday, the SPLC fired its legendary co-founder, Morris Dees, for unspecified “inappropriate conduct” and then hired an “outside organization” to conduct a “comprehensive assessment” of its “internal climate and workplace practices.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the SPLC just might have a tolerance problem. More at link

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/southern-poverty-law-center-fires-morris-dees-exposes-own-intolerance/

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d_gw

Apparently the right is looking for another dead horse to beat.

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Becca Reese

Why would SLPC fire a founding member at 82 years old?

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elvis

Dirty old man?

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numbersjunkie
"abh, it's been 3 days or so, which is an eternity when it comes to explaining why Dees was fired."

Really? An eternity? Get a life.
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