The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization most famous for its meticulous listing of so-called hate groups, has surprised supporters and critics alike by listing itself as a hate group.
SPLC spokesperson Amber Lance-Chaser says that years of complaints about the organization’s persecution of certain groups prompted it to investigate itself, eventually dispatching teams of investigators and attorneys to scrutinize its more than 50 years of activity.
In a bulky 804-page report, the teams conclude that the organization has, for most of its existence, stalked, intimidated, and blacklisted hundreds of organizations whose members held unpopular or unorthodox beliefs.
“Our unwavering harassment of people with whom we disagree on issues of morality, as well as our attempt to defame individuals and disband groups we find repugnant, qualify us as a hate group, according to our own standards,” Lance-Chaser said. “We are therefore asking the public to be aware of our presence in communities across the country, and to report to law enforcement any activities we engage in that appear to be suspicious.”
“If you are a party who has been victimized by us, please let us know ASAP because we plan on filing a class-action lawsuit against ourselves,” she added.
This is the second time in recent years that a major civil rights organization has turned the tables against itself. In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union earnestly defended the right of Nazis to burn down ACLU headquarters.