Richard Cohen, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, announces his resignation, March 22, 2019. (Associated Press)
Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen is stepping down from the civil rights organization, in the midst of a series of high-profile departures and questions about the treatment of workers.
In a statement, Cohen said that the organization is “stronger” following a review of the practices of Tina Cohen, a Chicago-based lawyer and former chief of staff of the former first lady Michelle Obama.
“We are going through a difficult period now, and I know that we emerge stronger at the end of the process that we have started with Tina Cohen,” the statement said. “Given my long period as the SPLC president, however, I don’t think I would be involved in that process together with Tina, her team and the board of directors in a way that can be useful.”
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Cohen has worked with the centre since 1986 and was president in 2003, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. He was one of the most prominent figures, which legal campaigns against the Ku Klux Klan and other extremist groups.
But in the past few years, the center has the criticism of Republicans and conservatives who have accused the SPLC of unfairly labeling people and groups with conservative views as fanatics.
Paypal came under fire from religious groups after its CEO revealed in working with the SPLC to help identify accounts, for a ban of its platform. Various groups called for a boycott of the digital payment system because the above-mentioned number of conservative Christian organizations as “hate groups” or “extremists” because of their religious beliefs.
Republican legislators have also questioned the relationship between the SPLC and the FBI.
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USA. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said groups such as the Christian Family Research Council (FRC) have been unfairly labeled as hate groups by the SPLC, while the members of the “Antifa”.
“The SPLC, the conflation of mainstream political interest groups with legitimate hate groups and domestic terrorist groups is absurd, often over-simplified and dangerous,” Gaetz said.
“The SPLC, the conflation of mainstream political interest groups with legitimate hate groups and domestic terrorist groups is absurd, often over-simplified and dangerous.”
— VS. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
Cohen’s exit comes a week after SPLC co-founder Morris Dees was fired and some of the center staff raised concerns about whether the group, the mission of combating hate and discrimination was inconsistent with the treatment of the minority of the employees.
In addition to Dees, deputy director of the legal left, right, left, about gender and race equity. The centre of the senior staff and board are largely white, according to the Advertiser.
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About two dozen employees signed a letter that the concern about “the allegations of ill-treatment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and racism are a threat to the moral authority of this organization, and our integrity along with it,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Advertiser spoke with four staff who said that there is a disconnect on what they saw as the centre of the response to high-profile cases of police use of deadly force and prioritization of marketing and fundraising on civil rights. The center remains a $450 million advocacy organization that protrude above other civil rights groups.