The Southern Poverty Law Center has yet another lawsuit to fight.
The latest victim of the SPLC’s smear machine to file suit is Gavin McInnes, the right-wing provocateur who founded the Proud Boys, which the SPLC labeled a hate group and McInnes says is no such thing.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Middle Alabama, accuses the discredited organization with defamation and tortious interference and causing New York City to illegally discriminate against McInnes by firing him from his job.
The lawsuit, the third of late against the SPLC, seeks unspecified damages.
“What they do is they cast this wide net of ‘everyone’s a Nazi’ and they start destroying lives,” McInnes said outside SPLC headquarters, known as the Poverty Palace. “This is a free speech nation, and this is not a free speech organization.”
The SPLC, the lawsuit alleges, has waged a long-term campaign to destroy McInnes’ reputation, wreck his career, make finding a job impossible, and expose his family to ridicule and harassment.
Such is the success of the SPLC’s attack, the lawsuit alleges, so thoroughly has the SPLC’s “hate group” designation of the Proud Boys “deplatformed” McInnes, that he can’t defend himself. He has no access to any of the social-media platforms that would enable him to do so effectively.
McInnes, the lawsuit claims, “is an avowed and vocal opponent of discrimination based on race, religion or sexual preference, and of ideologies and movements espousing extremism, nationalism and white supremacy.”
Yet “McInnes, his associates and his family have been successfully targeted for personal and professional destruction by a self-appointed enforcer of such orthodoxy, defendant SPLC, to achieve SPLC’s own ideological, political and financial (i.e., fundraising) ends.”
The lawsuit notes that SPLC hate labels “are not not empirical statements of fact, and are frequently entirely counter-factual,” yet the hate labels are “nonetheless intended by SPLC and treated by the mainstream press, law enforcement, courts and social media organizations not as SPLC’s opinion but rather as objective, empirical factual determinations.”
The lawsuit contends that the SPLC’s hate label ends with its victims being deplatformed, “deprived of access to online and in-person venues in which they were, prior to being deplatformed, able to express their views to those who choose to listen, or ‘defunded,’ meaning blocked from access from both social-media-based crowdfunding sources and payment processors such as both online and traditional banks and credit card companies.”
That, the lawsuit alleges, is what the SPLC did to McInnes with a relentless campaign of false and defamatory statements posted at its website.
The Proud Boys, the lawsuit says, does not allow racists to join. As well, the lawsuit says, McInnes has on multiple occasions clearly stated that he does not support racial hatred.
The lawsuit also includes some of those whom the SPLC labeled “extremist,” such as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson and Christian groups such as the Family Research Council and Traditional Values Coalition.
The lawsuit cites the many mainstream media stories that have largely discredited the SPLC. Those stories show that the SPLC is, essentially, a money-making operation that retails hysterical smears about “extremists” and “hate groups” ever ready to bring down a dark night of fascism. SPLC assets total nearly a half-billion dollars.
The lawsuit alleges that the SPLC has used McInnes’ photograph to falsely suggest he was at a violent rally, and lists dozens of false and defamatory statements at the SPLC’s website.
The result of the SPLC’s attack on McInnes and the Proud Boys? The major social-media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and iTunes have banned him, and he can no longer use PayPal or MailChimp.
The SPLC, the lawsuit alleges, has destroyed McInnes’ reputation. So successful was the SPLC’s effort to wreck McInnis’ life that his neighbors waged a campaign to push him out of his home. In November, the Daily Beast reported that an e-mail urged neighbors of McInnes to purchase and display signs that say “Hate Has No Home Here.”
McInnes seeks damages for defamation, tortious interference with his business interests, and the loss of his job with New York City. The SPLC, the lawsuit alleges, caused the city to fire him for participating in legally protected activity outside his job.
The SPLC or its personnel face two other lawsuits — one from a lawyer in Baltimore and the other from the Center for Immigration Studies. They are alleging defamation, tortious interference, mail and wire fraud, and violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The SPLC recently hired a top-flight defamation attorney.
Image: screenshot from YouTube video of McInnes