A week after co-founder Morris Dees was ousted over sexual misconduct claims - with two dozen employees signing a letter of concern over "allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism," the head of the SPLC, Richard Cohen, as well as the organization's legal director, Rhonda Brownstein, resigned on Friday.
Cohen had been with the organization 33 years and was one of its most prominent figures.
At 5:03 p.m. Friday, Cohen sent a message to staff, with the subject
line “Stepping Down,” announcing that he, too, would be leaving the
organization that he and Dees had turned into a research and fundraising
“Whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take
responsibility for them,” Cohen wrote, while asking the staff to avoid
jumping to conclusions before the board completes an internal review of
the Montgomery, Ala., organization’s work culture. -LA Times
Earlier this week, the SPLC board of directors appointed Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, Tina Tchen - who, in an unrelated matter, unsuccessfully tried to pull strings and have the Jussie Smollett case transferred from the Chicago PD to the FBI. Tchen is heading up the inquiry into the sexual misconduct claims.
Also out on Friday was Rhonda Brownstein - who had worked with the organization for nearly three decades, according to the Montgomery Advertiser's Melissa Brown.