Apparently, the Southern Poverty Law Center isn’t going to let a few dozen allegations of racism and sexual harassment get in the way of some good, old-fashioned fundraising. As far as board chairman Bryan Fair is concerned, it’s business as usual at the “Poverty Palace.” The hate machine, he assures donors, isn’t slowing down just because the group’s credibility is in tatters. So, if you’d like to send a nice little gift to an organization ravaged by scandal, he knows the perfect place.
So much for a moment of soul-searching and self-reflection. SPLC isn’t missing a beat of its war against conservatives. In a memo published by the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, Fair tries to reassure supporters that this “highly profitable scam,” as one former employee called it, wasn’t going to let its own hate stop them from pointing the fingers at others. Before a long list of the group’s regularly scheduled targets, Fair insists that these 25 years of documented bigotry were just a “workplace challenge.” Don’t worry, he coos, the organization has already dealt with it by hiring Obama crony (and suspected Jussie Smollett meddler) Tina Tchen.
“As I said at the start of this letter,” Fair writes, “I serve on the SPLC’s board of directors because I believe in the work and I believe in the staff.” Then in a classic SPLC move, he pivots away from the group’s own cancerous prejudice to the “real” threat: conservatives. “Given the rising tide of hate and given the callousness of the Trump administration, our work is as critical as ever. I can assure you that we will continue to work as hard as we can to combat the forces of hate and bigotry and to seek justice for the most marginalized people in our country.” My suggestion to Fair is that he start within the hallways of the poverty palace!
At least for now, the media shows no interest in helping SPLC dig out from this latest disgrace. Every editorial page in the country seems to be bleeding disgust at the shame the organization is bringing on their shared cause. The SPLC is “everything that’s wrong with liberalism,” fumed Nathan Robinson in Current Affairs. “It was hypocritical in the extreme, preaching anti-racism while fostering a racist internal culture and being led by men whose own commitment to equality was questionable. It didn’t care about listening to and incorporating the viewpoints of the people it was supposed to serve. It was obscenely rich in a time of terrible poverty and squandered much its considerable wealth.” Most importantly, he argues, “it picked the wrong political targets, and focused on symbolic over substantive change.”
But as outraged as the mainstream media seems to be, several corporate giants have been conspicuously silent about the organization they trusted to purge “haters.” When the Daily Caller approached Amazon about taking back the power it gave SPLC over its charity program, the company refused to even reply. Reporter Peter Hasson was curious about the status of the partnership, since, as he points out:
“AmazonSmile has raised more than $100 million for charitable causes — but participation in the program is dependent on the SPLC’s approval.”
The SPLC can’t even police its own hate! How could Amazon possibly trust it to detect others’? So far, the only thing SPLC has done is use its veto power to boot mainstream groups like Alliance Defending Freedom from the program. “We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman said last year. No questions asked. When pressed for an explanation, she said, “because we don’t want to be biased whatsoever.”
If it’s bias they’re worried about, then what on earth are they doing with an organization ravaged by discrimination charges? A workplace with a culture so toxic that the Montgomery Advisor quoted a Harvard Law grad who couldn’t name “a single black employee” who was happy working there. Of 13 black former employees the Advertisercontacted, 12 had said they “either experienced or observed racial problems inside the law center… Three said they heard racial slurs, three likened the center to a plantation, and two said they had been treated better at predominantly white corporate law firms.”
Board members can spin the decades of corruption all they want, but the truth is out. And anyone who ignores it will be held responsible. Because then they’ll all be part of the con — and we’ll know it.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.