SPLC Founder Morris Dees Fired

The Southern Poverty Law Center has announced it has dismissed founder Morris Dees.

SPLC President Richard Cohen announced Thursday that Dees’ employment was terminated. The statement did not elaborate on the reasons but said the organization is committed to ensuring the “conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization.”

In a statement, the SPLC said it “is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment.”

The SPLC said an outside group will review its workplace practices.

Reached by telephone, Dees said the matter involved a personnel issue. He said the Southern Poverty Law Center is a wonderful organization and he wished them luck.

Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, released the following statement: 

“Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated. 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. 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.

“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.

“The SPLC is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment.”

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