Since its founding in 1971 as an organization with the laudable mission of fighting the KKK and other white supremacy groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has raised hundreds of millions of dollars with which it has leveled countless legal and public relations attacks against various “hate groups.”
Money aside, however, the SPLC is today a shell of its former self, beset with internal unrest and displaying a muddled focus. The Center no longer maintains the aura of invincibility that for decades made it essentially immune from serious legal challenges.
Much of the Center’s current troubles can be traced to 2019, when a major scandal centered on sexual harassment allegations forced the ouster of its co-founder and long-time leader, Morris Dees. Perhaps as a result of that major setback, the SPLC appears to have lost its sharp edge, and now appears to be targeting “hate” groups for no clear reason other than because it can.
The Dustin Inman Society, based in a northwest suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, has found itself in those SPLC crosshairs because it has, since its founding in 2005, vocally opposed illegal immigration.
The SPLC on the other hand, has long defended immigration, so it is no surprise that for years, the Center expressed its dislike for the Dustin Inman Society and its founder, D.A. King. That changed, however, in 2018 when the SPLC decided to list the small Dustin Inman Society as a “hate group,” and noted it as such on the Center’s website.
In response to being thus targeted by the SPLC, the Dustin Inman Society sued the Center for defamation. In a decision last month, the federal judge before whom the lawsuit is pending in Alabama, ruled that the SPLC would have to submit to discovery by the Society. The judge’s refusal to dismiss the complaint likely surprised the SPLC’s lawyers, because for the first time it opened the door for a group targeted by the Center to be able to conduct extensive discovery probing how and why it decides to attach the “hate group” label to an organization.
This move will likely have far-reaching consequences for the formerly invulnerable SPLC.
The SPLC’s problems are not limited to the setback it suffered in the Dustin Inman Society lawsuit. One of its own lawyers, Thomas Webb Jurgens, was arrested earlier this Spring and charged with domestic terrorism as one of the suspected Antifa agitators involved in violent disturbances surrounding the construction of a new police training center in Atlanta (in January, another protestor was killed by police in an exchange of gunfire at the same construction site).
In contrast to its listing of the Dustin Inman Society as a “hate group” because of its lawful advocacy against illegal immigration, the SPLC steadfastly has refused to label Antifa similarly.
More baffling even than the SPLC’s double standard for deciding what groups merits the “hate” label, is the Center’s ongoing fascination with “male supremacy.” Earlier this week, for example, an opinion piece featured on the SPLC website declared that the . . . Threat Of Male Supremacy Is Growing. Interestingly, however, for a category of “hate” that is supposedly “growing,” there appears only a single such entity on the Center’s most recent national “Male Supremacy Hate Map.”
That recent article on “male supremacy” was preceded in April of this year by a much longer piece also on the Center’s website, titled Male Supremacy Is At The Core Of The hard Right’s Agenda authored by Cassie Miller. It is this treatise that displays the true motive for the Center’s focus on such an odd topic as “male supremacy” – a vehicle by which to target traditional American culture and those who the SPLC considers to be its supporters; namely, Ron DeSantis (whose picture figures prominently in the opinion piece), Donald Trump, and the Republican Party.
Also featured in Ms. Miller’s screed against masculinity is a photo montage of a traditional American family, consisting of a father, a mother, and two children walking hand-in-hand. That picture appears directly beneath the heading “HATEWATCH,” and it tells you everything you need to know about the true agenda of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.