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Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees, citing misconduct

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Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees, citing misconduct

The Southern Poverty Law Center has fired its famed co-founder, Morris Dees, for misconduct, the nonprofit announced Thursday, a stunning development at the Montgomery, Ala., organization that became a bedrock of anti-extremism research and activism in the U.S. under decades of Dees’ leadership.

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“Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated,” said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a statement. “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.”

Advertisement > Representatives for the organization did not disclose the nature of Dees’ alleged misconduct. “We can’t comment on the details of individual personnel decisions,” a spokesman said in an email. Dees could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Dees co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971 and gained notoriety by suing members of the Ku Klux Klan , which resulted in the organization’s offices being firebombed in 1983

This story will be updated