The far-left smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center reportedly terminated a quarter of its staff Wednesday, weakening and perhaps eliminating two of its departments amid a restructure that heavily hit its union members.

The SPLC “gutted its staff by a quarter,” the organization’s union posted on X. (Yes, this nonprofit organization has its own labor union. If staff get tired of protesting Alliance Defending Freedom, they can protest management, instead.) The SPLC told more than 60 union members, including five union stewards and the union’s chair, that they would be losing their jobs.

“We are devastated for our union and our colleagues,” the union posted.

The SPLC confirmed the news to The Alabama Reflector, though it did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Signal.

“We announced internally the consolidation of certain programs and activities as well as the elimination of others, resulting in staff reductions,” the center said. The SPLC aims “streamline our activities and operations to strengthen our ability to advance a multiracial, inclusive democracy and ground our work in the perspectives and priorities of communities most affected by human rights violations.”

The union, however, claimed that the move will effectively end various departments at the organization.

A Restructuring?

The SPLC is “functionally eliminating the Learning for Justice department,” the union noted.

SPLC co-founder Morris Dees established an education program, then called “Teaching Tolerance,” in 1991. The program rebranded as “Learning for Justice” in 2021, apparently because “tolerance” wasn’t woke enough. The program has advocated for teaching kids as young as 2 years old about transgender identity, and it has heartily embraced critical race theory, a lens by which teachers tell kids that whites are oppressors and blacks oppressed in a “systemically racist” America.

The SPLC will also lay off all 16 staff in the Southern Immigrant Freedom Initiative, closing the office and ceasing to provide free legal representation to “detained immigrants across Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi,” the union claimed.

The layoffs also involve dismantling “the full Immigrant Justice team,” according to the union.

The union noted that the SPLC has “nearly a billion dollars in reserves” and received an “F” rating from nonprofit watchdog CharityWatch, in part for hoarding donations. CharityWatch warned that the SPLC may not use donors’ money for 7.3 years, because its reserves can keep the center running for that long.

It remains unclear exactly why the SPLC decided to terminate so many staff. As of 2022, the center had an endowment of $731.9 million and accounts in the Cayman Islands. It seems it should be able to hold on to its employees.

“An organization with this much money has no excuse,” Hannah Gais, an SPLC Union member who apparently did not lose her job, wrote on X.

What Is the SPLC?

As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC began by providing free legal services to poor people in the South. In the 1980s, it shifted its focus to suing Ku Klux Klan groups into bankruptcy. By the 1980s, the Klan—evil though it still was—had become a paper tiger, and lawyers complained that suing Klan groups was like “shooting fish in a barrel.” Yet the lawyers said the SPLC kept doing it because it raked in donations.

Eventually, the SPLC ran out of grand dragons to conquer, so it repurposed the journal it used to monitor the Klan—appropriately named Klanwatch—and started reporting on ever more mainstream organizations. By the 2010s, it started putting mainstream conservative and Christian organizations on a list of “hate groups” that eventually morphed into including a “hate map.” The list and the map have always included Klan chapters.

In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder, Dees, in a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal. Amid that scandal, a former employee came forward, calling the SPLC’s “hate” accusations a “highly profitable scam.” Almost every year, the SPLC reports a higher number of “hate groups” than the year before. For the 2022 version of the “hate map”—released in 2023—it added “antigovernment extremist groups” to the map.

Conservatives have long suspected that the “hate map” is a tool to silence the SPLC’s opponents. The SPLC advocates against enforcing immigration laws, and it brands immigration enforcement groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies, and the Dustin Inman Society “anti-immigrant hate groups.” It also advocates for LGBTQ issues and it puts Christian nonprofits like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council on the map as “anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups.”

Last year, it added parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty to the “hate map.”

When the SPLC released its latest “hate map” report last week, it predictably claimed that hate and extremism were increasing. This version of the “hate map” included Gays Against Groomers, a group of gay people who oppose the sexualization of children, as an “anti-LGBTQ+ hate group.”


The SPLC has faced numerous scandals in recent years, though that seems not to bother President Joe Biden and his administration.

In 2012, a terrorist used the SPLC’s “hate map” to target the Family Research Council for a mass shooting. The building manager suffered a gunshot wound but prevented the terrorist from carrying out his plan. The SPLC condemned the attack but kept the council on the “hate map” ever since.

In 2015, the SPLC removed neurosurgeon and presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson from its “extremist list” after putting him there largely because he opposed same-sex marriage.

In 2018, the SPLC paid more than $3 million to settle a defamation lawsuit after it branded a Muslim reformer an “anti-Muslim extremist.”

The charity rating platform GuideStar added SPLC “hate group” labels to its rating pages for nonprofits in 2017, only to remove them amid a backlash.

Last year, a judge allowed a defamation lawsuit against the SPLC to proceed to discovery. Meanwhile, authorities arrested an SPLC attorney at an Atlanta Antifa riot involving Molotov cocktails. That lawyer faces domestic terrorism charges.

After the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, office drafted a memo citing the SPLC on “radical-traditional Catholic hate groups,” the FBI’s national office rushed to rescind the memo, saying it did not meet the FBI’s standards, an implicit attack on the SPLC’s credibility.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, the SPLC remained silent. The SPLC Union released a statement before the SPLC did, and the union expressed “solidarity with the Palestinian people,” condemning Israel for “the violent imperialist desecration of a people—the beginnings of a genocide.” On the same day, photos from a social media platform suggested that an SPLC lawyer helped organize an anti-Israel protest that took over a congressional office building.

When the SPLC finally did release a statement about the Oct. 7 attacks, it falsely accused Israel of targeting Palestinian children in Gaza for airstrikes, only to stealth-edit the statement and delete the claim after The Daily Signal exposed it.

Despite all this, the Biden administration has repeatedly worked with the SPLC, with a Justice Department division listening to an SPLC briefing on its “hate map.” SPLC President Margaret Huang bragged that the administration reached out to the SPLC for advice on combating the “domestic terrorism threat.”