Hate Group Leader Mat Staver
Hate Group Leader Mat Staver

The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Liberty Counsel a hate group. That is an indisputable fact. If leader Mat Staver does not like the fact that SPLC deems Liberty Counsel a hate group then he needs to take that up with SPLC. Unless and until Mr. Staver and the rest of the malcontents at Liberty Counsel modify their behavior, SPLC is likely to continue to designate Liberty Counsel as a hate group. Obviously the hate group listing has unnerved Liberty Counsel to the point of unhingedness (to the extent that they were not already unhinged).

The newest intended victim is Gatehouse Media. Staver will not go after larger organizations because he knows how they will react subject to an insufficiency of materials to shove up Mr. Staver’s nether regions. According to Staver, in an email Wednesday evening:

Gatehouse Media, which owns the Florida-based News Chief, The Walton Sun and The Destin Log, published a defamatory article on Tuesday that includes Liberty Counsel in a list of active “hate groups” in Florida. The article, “Florida ranks 2nd highest in US in hate groups,” is attributed to the Associated Press, but Gatehouse Media added additional defamatory information about Liberty Counsel not in the original AP article and uses the discredited Southern Poverty Center Law Center (SPLC), a reckless organization that falsely labels nonviolent people and organizations as “haters” or “hate groups,” as a source. Liberty Counsel has sent a demand letter to Gatehouse.

The letter which is intended to intimidate includes:

We hope to avoid the necessity of suing Newschief/Gatehouse Media over this label, but
will not hesitate to do so unless it is immediately retracted pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 770.01, et seq.
I hereby request an immediate retraction of the “hate” label/classification applied to Liberty
Counsel. Liberty Counsel filed suit against GuideStar on June 28, 2017, for its promotion of the
false claim that Liberty Counsel is a “hate” group.

The way it is worded you would think that Florida § 770.01 provides a cause of action. Not at all. It simply requires a five day notice of intent to sue for libel or slander. Staver has given them until August 22 to comply with a list of demands. At the conclusion of the email, Staver writes:

This Gatehouse Media article is not only defamatory but dangerous, especially after the recent Charlottesville tragedy. The article includes a picture of a recent white supremacy rally in Charlottesville along with the following: “James Alex Fields, the man charged with second-degree murder after driving into a crowd of anti-protesters at the Charlottesville, Virginia white nationalist event Unite the Right Saturday, was seen with the Vanguard America group at the rally. Vanguard America has since issued a statement claiming Fields was not an official member.”

Now that takes chutzpah. A hate group leader claiming to be a potential victim if identified as a hate group leader because of the actions of a member of another hate group. Meanwhile, I will contact any attorney representing anyone sued for defamation by Liberty Counsel encouraging them to ask for sanctions. Only then will Staver stop his nonsense. Staver has hijacked the legal system as lawyers constantly suing on their own behalf.

Defamation requires a false statement. Liberty Counsel is a hate group. Even were it not for SPLC I have dozens of text citations which prove that Liberty Counsel is a hate group.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.