Southern Poverty Law Center head announces resignation
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The longtime president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced his resignation on Friday amid allegations of staff mistreatment and discrimination at the organization.

“Whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take responsibility for them,” Richard Cohen, who has worked at the group since 1986, wrote in an email to employees Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The move comes a week after the civil rights advocacy organization fired its co-founder and chief litigator, Morris Dees, who was at the center of the controversy. Dees was removed for undisclosed misconduct.


Cohen urged employees to not rush to judgement about the organization's work culture until an investigation — led by the board-appointed Tina Tchen, former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama celebrates seniors, tells them to 'breathe deep and dance your heart out' at virtual prom The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Michelle Obama working with 31 mayors on increasing voter participation MORE's chief of staff — was completed.

Dees was at the center of scrutiny over alleged discriminatory treatment involving black employees at the organization, according to a recent report in the Montgomery Advertiser, which cited a series it did in the 1990s.

"Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated," Cohen wrote last week. "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."

“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," he added at the time.

Unlike Dees, Cohen's biography page remains on the SPLC website and touts the organization's record against white supremacists and defending the rights of prisoners under his leadership.