Earlier this week, the Freeform show “The Bold Type” echoed an infamous smear against a Christian nonprofit — a smear that directly inspired a terror attack against the organization.
In the Season 2 Episode 8 episode “Plan B” (which IMDB says is set to air next Tuesday, but streamed early this past Tuesday), Kat Edison (Aisha Dee) gets a job as a spokeswoman for a the company WholeSpa. Her friend Ryan Decker (Dan Jeannotte) warns her against the organization, smearing the Family Research Council (FRC) while he’s at it.
“I have a friend who’s doing a deep dive into the company, running an exposé on them for ‘Vice,'” Ryan warns. Kat asks what kind of exposé, and he responds, “Well, you know how supposedly they’re super progressive?”
“Turns out their CEO is a big donor to the Family Research Council and the Council of Conservative Citizens,” Ryan reveals. “Aren’t those, like, racist, anti-LGBTQ groups?” Kat responds. “Big time,” Ryan says.
Kat learns there is no way out of her contract with the company, but she decides to sabotage the company’s Instagram. After praising the company’s products, she adds attacks against the CEO, whom she accuses of “donating to hate groups.”
“I use WholeSpa clean wipes in the middle of the day because it’s a great pick me up. My skin feels soft, hydrated, and most of all, clean. It’s as if all the dirt’s just been wiped away,” Kat says. “Just like how the CEO of WholeSpa, Eric Miller, is hoping that having a queer black woman featured on their Instagram story will just wash away all the bad press he’s about to get for donating to hate groups.”
Kat goes on to say that when the CEO is “ousted as a racist homophobe, he can point to me and say, ‘Oh, look, some of my best spokespeople are black lesbians.'” She declares that she doesn’t want to be the “black bi Band-Aid.”
According to Newsbusters’ Karen Townsend, the left-wing attacks continued. The Whole Spa board member who recruited Kat remarked that one of the male board members even wears a MAGA hat while golfing.
Why does this matter? The “anti-LGBT hate group” charge against FRC traces back to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing smear organization that admits its “hate group” labels are based on “opinion,” and has declared its intention to “completely destroy” these groups.
That’s particularly ominous, because in 2012, Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the FRC’s headquarters with a semi-automatic pistol and Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches, intending to kill everyone in the building — and place a chicken sandwich by their heads. He later told the FBI he targeted the FRC for terror because it was on the SPLC’s “hate map.”
Even after this attack, the SPLC continues to smear FRC as a “hate group.” Last month, the SPLC had to pay a $3.375 settlement to Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer it had branded an “anti-Muslim extremist.” Liberty Counsel, one of the SPLC-marked “hate groups,” told PJ Media that about 60 organizations were considering lawsuits against the SPLC for defamation.
Despite its embattled position, the SPLC defended its credibility — by doubling down on its “hate group” smears against FRC. The group has also branded the Family Research Council “more dangerous” than the Ku Klux Klan.
The SPLC’s smears did not just connect to this terrorist attack. As illustrated by “The Bold Type,” its “hate group” markings are making their way into popular culture — and the halls of government. Earlier this month, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) called for Amazon to remove all products from SPLC-designated “hate groups.” Last year, shortly before his fall from grace, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) compared the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, citing the SPLC.
Matt Philbin, managing editor at the Media Research Center (MRC), attempted to explain how “The Bold Type” decided to parrot the SPLC. “I imagine what happened, in this case, is that the writers needed some way to make a character conservative (and thus unclean) and they googled ‘hate groups’ and found SPLC’s ‘Hate Map,'” Philbin told PJ Media.
“In the progressive environment of a TV studio, nobody would think twice about picking groups off it and using them,” the MRC editor added. “There may be nothing more to it than that — when there are no conservatives around to hit the brakes, a lie like that can make it on air.”
Perhaps worse, major social media companies like Amazon, Google, and Twitter have used the SPLC “hate group” listing to suppress conservative groups online. This bias may spark a long-term backlash, worsening Facebook’s stock drop and expanding Twitter’s “shadow banning” scandal.
Democrats, Hollywood, social media firms and the media need to realize how unreliable the SPLC “hate group” designations are, and stop relying on their slanderous attacks.
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