Southern Poverty Law Center Fires Founder, Says It’s Probing ‘Internal Climate’

speaks onstage during the Discovery Communications TCA Winter 2016 at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 7, 2016 in Pasadena, California.
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The Southern Poverty Law Center fired its co-founder and head trial lawyer Morris Dees on Wednesday, according to a scathing statement from Richard Cohen, the group’s president.

The statement doesn’t specify why Dees, 82, was fired, but it says the SPLC has taken steps to conduct an assessment of its own “internal climate and workplace practices.”

Dees’ biography and leadership team page were removed from the SPLC website, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

He co-founded the SPLC in 1971

Read the full statement below:

“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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