"Hate-Speech"-Policing Big Tech Face Dozens Of Defamation Lawsuits After Settlement By SPLC

Over 60 organizations and 47 nonprofit leaders are mulling lawsuits against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after the organization settled with and apologized to a former Islamic radical, Maajid Nawaz, for $3.375 million because the organization included him in its bogus "Field Giude to Anti-Muslim Extremists." 

Nawaz, a practing Muslim who is specifically fighting Islamic extremism, was included in the "field guide" for criticizing the fringe elements of his own religion.

The SPLC "has lost all credibility," as explained by WaPo columnist Marc Thiessen:

The SPLC is a once-storied organization that did important work filing civil rights lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. But it has become a caricature of itself, labeling virtually anyone who does not fall in line with its left-wing ideology an “extremist” or “hate group.”

Nawaz is a case in point. Since abandoning Islamic radicalism, he has advised three British prime ministers and created the Quilliam Foundation, to fight extremism. He is not anti-Muslim. He is a Muslim and has argued that “Islam is a religion of peace.”

So how did he end up in the SPLC’s pseudo-guide to anti-Muslim bigots? His crime, apparently, is that he has become a leading critic of the radical Islamist ideology he once embraced. Thanks to his courage, the SPLC has been forced to pay a multimillion-dollar penalty and acknowledge in a statement that it was “wrong” and that Nawaz has “made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.”

And now, PJ Media reports that no fewer than 60 organizations and 47 nonprofit leaders are considering lawsuits against the SPLC for similar smears by the radical left-wing organization. 

"We, the undersigned, are among the organizations, groups and individuals that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has maligned, defamed and otherwise harmed by falsely describing as 'haters,' 'bigots,' 'Islamophobes' and/or other groundless epithets," the signatories declared. "We are gratified that the SPLC has today formally acknowledged that it has engaged in such misrepresentations."

"Journalists who uncritically parrot or cite the SPLC's unfounded characterizations of those it reviles do a profound disservice to their audiences," the signatories added.

"We haven't filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told PJ Media on Tuesday.

Paging Mike Cernovich...

Where does Silicon Valley fit in?

Contained within the Wednesday letter is a warning to companies such as Facebook, Amaaon, Google and Twitter - all of whom rely on the SPLC for guidance on "hate groups":

Editors, CEOs, shareholders and consumers alike are on notice: anyone relying upon and repeating its misrepresentations is complicit in the SPLC’s harmful defamation of large numbers of American citizens who, like the undersigned, have been vilified simply for working to protect our country and freedoms

And as the Daily Caller's Peter Hassan pointed out two weeks ago, Silicon Valley relies on the SPLC to police "hate speech":

Four of the world’s biggest tech platforms have working partnerships with a left-wing nonprofit that has a track record of inaccuracies and routinely labels conservative organizations as “hate groups.”

Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter all work with or consult the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in policing their platforms for “hate speech” or “hate groups,” a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.

The SPLC is on a list of “external experts and organizations” that Facebook works with “to inform our hate speech policies,” Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja told TheDCNF in an interview.

...

Of the four companies, Amazon gives the SPLC the most direct authority over its platform, TheDCNF found.

While Facebook emphasizes its independence from the SPLC, Amazon does the opposite: Jeff Bezos’ company grants the SPLC broad policing power over the Amazon Smile charitable program, while claiming to remain unbiased.

“We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible,” an Amazon spokeswoman told TheDCNF.

Amazon grants the SPLC that power “because we don’t want to be biased whatsoever,” said the spokeswoman, who could not say whether Amazon considers the SPLC to be unbiased. -Daily Caller

In fact, Apple pledged $1 million to the organization, while J.P. Morgan has given the group $500,000. "Companies like Lyft and MGM Resorts have partnered with the group, while Pfizer, Bank of America, and Newman's Own have each contributed over $8,900 to the SPLC in recent years," reports PJ Media.

While some have argued that the SPLC is protected under the First Amendment, Dr. James Kennedy Ministries - a group suing the SPLC over their hate map, says that no longer applies to the SPLC, as they have "supplied government and law enforcement with their information," adding "it's no longer a free speech issue, there's a substantive issue with these false and slanderous claims that the SPLC makes."

"Slander and malice are never protected," and such factors loom large in litigation. Rabe argued that DJKM and other organizations suing the SPLC should win partially because the left-wing group has a documented malice against these groups.

The threat to journalists should be taken particularly seriously, as CNN uncritically shared the SPLC "hate map" last year, and outlets like ABC News and NBC News uncritically marked ADF a "hate group" using the SPLC label. -PJ Media