Group Legally Disputes Label From Southern Poverty Law Center

A recent article on the National Public Radio website details the lawsuit by the right-wing, male-only group Proud Boys against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after the latter organization labelled the former a hate group. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes says that he is not running a hate group, and, therefore, the SPLC designation defames him.

McInnes says that Proud Boys is a harmless fraternal group, and that, while they may not be politically correct, they are far from a hate group. SPLC, by contrast, say that the group in general and McInnes in particular have a documented history of making racist, homophobic and xenophobic remarks.

Issues of reputation

McInnes says that the classification of Proud Boys as a hate group by SPLC forced him to leave the group he created because its and his own reputation had been destroyed. He noted that PayPal, Twitter and other online entities dropped Proud Boys after the classification, and he says that isn’t fair. His lawyers go on to question the amount of power SPLC center has in shaping public perception of fringe groups with strong views.

SPLC Response

SPLC have responded to the effect that they do not feel that McInnes has a legal case against them. For starters, they say his group is, in fact a hate group, and that they are merely voicing their own opinions as protected by the First Amendment. They also say that having earned the enmity of a person such as McInnes, who they characterize as bigoted, proves that they are doing their job.

SPLC was formed in 1971, and their mission is to advocate for the civil rights movement. Their hate group list is meant to put down in one place organizations they feel discriminate against others based on race, religion, sexual identity, gender orientation or ethnicity.

Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/02/04/us/ap-us-proud-boys-lawsuit.html

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