Since I had some interaction with Morris Dees years ago I cannot believe the reasons given in every source I’ve looked at. That would be every source I’ve found after exhaustive search. The Wikipedia page on Dees seems to be on board with nearly every thing I’ve found:
In 2019, the SPLC fired Dees for undisclosed reasons, and said the firm would hire an “outside organization” to investigate its workplace practices. Before the firing, two dozen employees had complained to management about concerns of “mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism” which threatened SPLC’s moral authority and integrity. A former employee said that Dees had a “reputation for hitting on young women” and that his ouster came “amid a staff revolt over the mistreatment of non-white and female employees” by Dees and SPLC leadership
That completely fails to paint an accurate picture of the Morris Dees that I saw on those few interactions we had. We did have enough discussion, I think, to allow me to fairly evaluate the man. The opinion I drew was that he is a very good lawyer, a lawyer so good and so thorough in his preparation and evaluation as to strike fear in the heart of opposing counsel. The charges of “mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism” seem preposterous to me. Dees has spent too many decades fighting for justice for people who have been discriminated against for those charges to make any sense at all.
As for hitting on women, he had no need for that. As far as I could tell, he had plenty of women hitting on him. When he would come to town to give a speech about his work the female lawyers I saw were falling all over him. I find it hard to believe any women at the SPLC had grounds to claim sexual harassment against Dees. If they’re mad at him it’s more likely they are miffed because he didn’t respond to them in the way they wanted.
Since I can’t seem to find anything written to defend Dees [that does not mean it doesn’t exist, just that I did not find it], I’ll have to speculate on what the real reasons for his termination might be. This will be fair speculation because it’s based on things I have seen with my own eyes and things I know about how liberals have become far right radicals in the last couple of decades.
Dees was clearly a liberal as that term might have been defined up until the last 20 years. Dees was solid enough in his own liberalism to have not gone along with how radical SPLC has become. Anyone who slightly disagrees with anything the SPLC believes and/or sounds off about is now labeled by them a “hate group.” Thanks to Dees good work, along with that of his co-founders, the SPLC enjoys a rock solid reputation as a defender of freedom and the fair treatment of everyone of any color. Trouble is, that image has faded away over the years but most observers have failed to notice. So much so that even though the SPLC no longer deserves that respect, they still get it.
I’ll speculate that Dees was not on board with the new face of the SPLC, and being dedicated to truth as he is, he most likely stood up and criticized the attempt to turn his beloved organization into a radical left-wing outfit indulging itself in the cesspool of “hate” far more than the organizations they are now labeling as “hate groups.” Remember, merely disagreeing with such radicals automatically makes you a “hate group” in their eyes.
If the SPLC suffers from all the law suits against it for their radical treatment of any organization that dares to question their activities, Dees may look back and be thankful he got out when he did. I’m not saying that, I don’t what his thinking is right now. I just would not be surprised.
The fact he has not retaliated against the SPLC shows he has more class that they do.