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How Long Will Amazon Follow Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Hate Group’ Slander?

A screenshot of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map.” (

As confirmed at a recent shareholders’ meeting, Amazon generated over $232 billion last year and has arguably set the gold standard for innovation.

Indeed, Amazon employs nearly 650,000 men and women all over the world—a number that doesn’t account for the millions of third-party sellers who use the Amazon platform for sales and logistics, and depend on Amazon’s business for their livelihood.

But inside these massive numbers lurks a darker story of Amazon using its muscle to weaponize a far-left group’s scheme to harm and silence its ideological opponents.

Amazon manages a program called Amazon Smile, which permits supporters of participating nonprofits to direct 0.5% of their purchases through Amazon back as a charitable donation. By every measure, it is a stunning philanthropic success, directing over $100 million to nonprofits since its formation.

According to Amazon, Smile is “a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop.” Customers can choose from over a million 501(c)(3) organizations that hold diverse and often conflicting views on a wide range of political, social, and moral issues.

That is, unless your nonprofit is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s now discredited “hate list.”

Amazon has deemed all such organizations ineligible for Amazon Smile, despite the controversial nature of the way the list was created, and with no due diligence of its own.

There is also no way for unfairly excluded groups to appeal. In its communications with my organization, Alliance Defending Freedom, last spring, Amazon cited the Southern Poverty Law Center’s slander of Alliance Defending Freedom as a “hate group” as the sole reason it was excluding us from its Smile program.

As a result, Alliance Defending Freedom has been on the outside looking in over the past year—even as we’ve added two victories at the Supreme Court protecting the free speech and religious liberty of all Americans during that same timeframe. In fact, since 2011, Alliance Defending Freedom has earned nine wins at the nation’s high court, and we’ve secured over 400 victories protecting students’ free speech rights at colleges across the country.

We defend free speech, promote respect and tolerance for different views, and welcome our staunchest opponents’ participation in the Amazon Smile program, like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Southern Poverty Law Center themselves. By contrast, the Southern Poverty Law Center is anti-freedom and anti-free speech, seeking to restrict views it disagrees with and silence its opponents.

That’s because today’s Southern Poverty Law Center — in the words of one former leader — does little more than seek to “completely destroy” those with whom it disagrees. Its weapon of choice is the “Hate List,” where it lumps in mainstream conservative groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council with hundreds of violent and racist groups like the KKK.

Read more at The Stream

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