The Southern Poverty Law Center took a devastating hit to its credibility and reinforced its reputation for unfairly wielding the “hate” label Monday by agreeing to pay millions of dollars to an organization previously included on a list of “extremists.”
In a stunning settlement, SPLC President Richard Cohen issued an apology and agreed to pay $3.375 million to the British-based Quilliam Foundation and founder Maajid Nawaz after they appeared in a since-deleted 2016 journalists’ guide to “anti-Muslim extremists.”
The agreement, reached after Mr. Nawaz threatened to sue, prompted the center’s many critics on the right to reissue calls for media outlets and companies, which include Google and Amazon, to stop relying on the center for neutral “hate group” assessments.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of 954 groups listed on the SPLC’s “hate map,” argued that the settlement terms “leave the media and big business with no excuse in continuing to use the SPLC as an objective, independent source.”
“The Southern Poverty has long been the Left’s pit bull — resorting to smears and a hate map to advance its liberal political agenda,” Mr. Perkins said in a statement. “But its falsehoods and dangerous tactics have finally caught up with them — with the group doling out millions in a defamatory settlement.”
Another group on the “hate map,” the Alliance Defending Freedom, which won a 7-2 Supreme Court decision this month on behalf of a Christian baker who refused to create a cake for a same-sex wedding, blasted the SPLC for “sloppy mistakes” that have “ruinous, real-life consequences.”