- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Southern Poverty Law Center fired its founder and former chief litigator Morris Dees this week.

In a statement Thursday, the group’s current president gave no specific reason for Mr. Dees’ “termination” but hinted that it had something to do with charges inconsistent with the group’s public face and stated mission.

“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” the group’s current president Richard Cohen said in an emailed statement, according to the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama. “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.”

The Advertiser reported that Mr. Dees’ biography had apparently been scrubbed from the group’s website.

Mr. Cohen’s statement also implied that dismissing Mr. Dees will result in changes in the work environment at the SPLC, a self-styled tracker of “hate groups” that had increasingly turned its guns on mainstream conservatism.

“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,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

The termination of the 82-year-old Mr. Dees, who founded the SPLC in 1971, was effective Wednesday, the Advertiser reported.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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