Conservative commentator and Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes is reportedly suing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for “defaming” him, publishing “false, damaging and defamatory statements,” and attempting to “deplatform” him.
McInnes’ lawyer, Ron Coleman, published the full complaint online, Monday.
“Mr. 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, as alleged further below,” the complaint alleged. “As also detailed below, the primary method SPLC uses to achieve its goals and those of its donors is by identifying activists, political figures and groups as targets or enemies of society and designating its enemies ‘extremists,’ ‘white supremacists,’ ‘hate groups’ and the like… Although the SPLC Hate Designations are not empirical statements of fact, and are frequently entirely counter-factual, the SPLC Hate Designations 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.”
“One way SPLC uses the SPLC Hate Designations is to cause its victims to be ‘deplatformed,’ or 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,” the complaint continued. “By leveraging its remarkable power and influence to deplatform and defund targeted groups and individuals such as Mr. McInnes, SPLC deprives those with which it disagrees of venues in which their points of view may be expressed, of income and ultimately of their most priceless possession, their reputations.”
The complaint also alleged that the “SPLC’s campaign against Mr. McInnes is arguably the most successful employment of its system to personally destroy those it disagrees with,” and the “SPLC’s defamatory, false, and misleading designation of Mr. McInnes as a ‘hate’ figure is purposefully deceitful and intended to tarnish Mr. McInnes’s reputation, disparage Mr. McInnes’s good name and work, inflict harm and financial damage, reduce Mr. McInnes’s goodwill and standing in the community, expose Mr. McInnes, his family and anyone else associated with him to public scorn, harassment, intimidation, and potential violence, and to denigrate, malign, and ridicule Mr. McInnes to countless individuals and potential employers and partners around the world.”
Last year, it was revealed that at least 60 groups were considering legal action against the SPLC following anti-extremist activist Maajid Nawaz’s successful lawsuit against the organization.
The SPLC paid Nawaz a $3.3 million settlement and made a public apology after the organization included him in a list of “anti-Muslim extremists,” despite Nawaz being Muslim himself.
In June, a Washington Post columnist claimed the SPLC had lost “all integrity and credibility.”
As previously reported, “Convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II was inspired by the SPLC’s ‘hate map’ to attempt a mass shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative Christian organization in Washington, D.C., in 2012.”
James T. Hodgkinson, the man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and several others at a charity baseball game in 2017, also “liked” the SPLC’s official page on Facebook.