Conservatives Release Open Letter to the News Media: Avoid Imploding Southern Poverty Law Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2019
CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Joshua Arnold, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397

Conservatives Release Open Letter to the News Media: Avoid Imploding Southern Poverty Law Center


WASHINGTON, DC -- Family Research Council (FRC) today joined a coalition of 67 conservative leaders and organizations in releasing an open letter to news organizations, calling on the media to stop using data from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) which has been exposed from within as having a culture of long-standing, long-ignored racial discrimination and sexual harassment.   The unraveling scandal has so far claimed the organization's founder, its president, and a top attorney.

The letter reads in part:

“In September 2017, a group similar to the one signing below wrote a public letter to warn the news media about the untrustworthy and corrupt nature of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  We suggested then that you refrain from using the SPLC as a source.   Some news organizations and individuals became more circumspect about the SPLC, but, unfortunately, some did not.  That said, 2017 and 2018 produced several publications marking the beginning of a much-needed reassessment of the SPLC’s self-appointed standing as America’s arbiter of ‘hate.’

“The SPLC’s ability to deflect and parry seems to have ended with its March 13 firing of Morris Dees, its co-founder and leader for almost five decades.  Dees’ termination was accompanied by a terse, opaque pronouncement…Dees’ firing was not the only shoe to drop.  Within ten days both the president, Richard Cohen, and the legal director, Rhonda Brownstein, had left the SPLC.  

“In response to this inner upheaval, Morris Dees was fired unceremoniously. Next, the management hired Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, attorney Tina Tchen, to investigate its workplace culture.  This choice raises serious concerns about the neutrality of the investigation.  And the choice appears particularly problematic given Tchen recently making headlines for interfering with the Chicago Police Department’s Jussie Smollett investigation. 

“If SPLC is interested in restoring its lost credibility with the public and remaining SPLC staff, an SPLC-initiated investigation should include…a responsible investigator to examine the various news reports over the years that have pointed to deep flaws in the SPLC and publicly lay out who within the Center knew what and when about these work conditions. 

“It (SPLC) attacks anyone who disagrees with its far-left agenda, smearing them with lies and grossly mischaracterizing their work.  All the while SPLC has also been imploding from within, with allegations of sex and race discrimination – which have hounded them for years – finally boiling over with the firing of Dees and the resignation of Cohen. 

“SPLC has lost all credibility.  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.” 

To read the full letter, please see: https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF19D04.pdf.

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