On Thursday, the event planning site Eventbrite booted ACT for America from all its accounts, citing policies against “hate” that echoed the attacks of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled the organization a “hate group.”
“We were just hosting [ACT for America founder] Brigitte Gabriel, she’s going on a book tour,” Thomas Hern, the organization’s national grassroots director, told PJ Media in an interview Thursday. Her new book, Rise: In Defense of Judeo-Christian Values and Freedom, came out last September. The book tour events were free community events, with no honorarium.
“Eventbrite sent us a notice yesterday saying that the events violated their community standards,” Hern reported. “They reached out again today and completely banned us from the account.”
Hern shared with PJ Media the emails. Both begin with this paragraph:
As stated in our Community Guidelines, Eventbrite does not permit on our platform content or organizations that promote or encourage hate, violence, or harassment towards others and/or oneself. Specifically, we prohibit content or organizations that promote hate towards or the harassment of individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
“We have determined that the events in question violate our Community Guidelines and are therefore not permitted on the Eventbrite platform,” the emails continue.
After this statement, the first email notes that “your event listings have been removed,” and suggests steps to access “any previous order information.”
The second email proves more definitive. “As these events have been re-published multiple times since our initial removal, we have again unpublished them and your account has been suspended at this time,” it reads.
Hern told PJ Media that Eventbrite’s references to “hate” indicate the influence of the SPLC.
“Virtually the only way that they would be able to determine that is based on the only organization who labels us a hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center,” he said. “They didn’t explicitly tell us that, but we’ve been through this whole song and dance before, we know the source.”
The SPLC smears ACT for America as an “anti-Muslim hate group.” On the contrary, the organization has worked with Muslims in opposing radical Islam and radical Islamic terrorism.
Regardless of the problems with the SPLC’s “hate group” label, many companies take it as gospel truth. ACT for America has been banned by Hyatt Hotels and PayPal. YouTube considers the SPLC a “trusted flagger,” and a Google whistleblower told PJ Media that his co-workers wholeheartedly trust the far-left smear group. Google may find itself ensnared in lawsuits against the SPLC.
Indeed, the Christian nonprofit Liberty Counsel sued the charity navigation website GuideStar for using the SPLC’s “hate group” labels. D. James Kennedy Ministries sued Amazon and the SPLC after Amazon booted the organization from their charity arm, AmazonSmile.
“When the SPLC sees you using a public tool like Facebook, Twitter, they try to use those companies to deplatform you,” Hern told PJ Media.
“I was hesitant to use Eventbrite because I was worried about getting deplatformed,” he added. “I was downloading our list every single day, so it’s not going to slow us down.”
“It’s something that we unfortunately have to plan for as an organization that’s being harassed and attacked by the Southern Poverty Law Center on a daily basis,” Hern said.
Indeed, the SPLC has launched three attacks against ACT for America in recent weeks.
After a local activist put up a poster connecting Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to the 9/11 attacks, SPLC rushed to slam the organization as a “hate group.” The national chapter condemned the poster and said it never would have been approved, but news outlets continued to blame ACT for America. The SPLC tweeted that the national group “attempted to distance themselves from the display,” as if they were still connected to it.
The second attack proved even worse. “In the Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania, we were hosting an event and they actually went to the church that was hosting our event and lobbied them. We lost the venue because of that,” Hern told PJ Media.
“They unleashed personal attacks, going after the chapter president there, Bill Leandri,” he continued. “All he did, his crime was being the president of a chapter that was hosting an event with Brigitte Gabriel. He didn’t say anything wrong, never was racist, didn’t say anything hateful.”
“They went after his personal life, his family, everything. He ended up resigning,” Hern said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also piled on with a direct attack on Leandri for his association with a “hate group.”
“I hope he pursues legal action against the Southern Poverty Law Center for harassment,” the ACT for America spokesman added.
Eventbrite should not trust the SPLC. The organization inflates the numbers of “hate groups” three times over, raising millions in a very lucrative scheme. Its malign influence must be countered, and roughly 60 organizations are considering defamation lawsuits against it. On Wednesday, the SPLC fired its co-founder and announced an external audit. Is this really the organization Eventbrite wants to trust?
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.