Liberty Counsel Appeals “Hate Group” Ruling

Via press release:

Liberty Counsel filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals challenging the district court’s dismissal of its lawsuit against GuideStar. Liberty Counsel’s lawsuit challenges GuideStar over its false and defamatory “hate group” label that it placed on GuideStar’s Liberty Counsel page. The lawsuit charges GuideStar violated the federal Lanham Act, along with state law violations of Interference with Business Expectancy and Defamation.

The lower court ruled that the republication of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “hate group” label was not “commercial speech” under the Lanham Act, and thus dismissed the federal claim. Without the federal claim, the court never reached the state law claims.

That ruling is based on an incorrect view of the law and the allegations pled in the suit. When GuideStar placed the “hate group” label on Liberty Counsel and more than 40 other nonprofit organizations, the same page solicited financial payments to enhance GuideStar membership. Moreover, GuideStar intended to cause financial harm to Liberty Counsel and the other nonprofit groups.

Earlier this week Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver compared his group to Holocaust victims, saying that calling them a hate group is “like the Nazis did to the Jews.”

  • Tiger Quinn

    Butcha are, Blanche. Ya are.

  • Friday’s_cat

    Come back after the rail car ride to the gas ovens, we’ll talk Holocaust then.

    • RaygunsGoZap

      Exactly! I can’t consider your Holocaust comparison until youre 150 pounds lighter and your children are dead.

    • Nic Peterson

      It’s hurting his bottom line so the shine is off that badge of honor thing. Odd how someone that would appeal to Holocaust deniers would invoke the memory of same. SMFH.

  • Lazycrockett
    • Adam Stevens

      I hope they fall in big gay love.

      • leo77

        Kenworthy already has a hot boyfriend.

        • David Walker


        • Bad Tom

          So, one of them is free?

    • Publius
      • Butch

        Have you ever seen the aerial stunts he performs? That slide is probably like a tricycle to him.

        • Publius

          No I haven’t, but I’ll probably do more research haha.

      • David Walker

        Boy child in awe. Love it. (Do you like gladiator movies? Have you ever seen a grown man naked?)

      • Bad Tom

        That is excellent.

      • BobSF_94117

        Great, now every facility like that is going to have to put up a barrier to prevent people from doing that.

      • Hank

        Can I slide down BEFORE him, together???

    • specialcircumstances
  • Butch

    Then don’t act like a hate group. Problem solved, easy peasy lemon squeezy.

  • bkmn
    • greenmanTN

      Dammit. I really have to sign up for Hulu, because I want to see that show.

      • Vpn + torrents.

      • forcebear

        It’s tough to watch at times, but definitely worth it.

  • clay

    Open your books wide, Mat; let’s see the financial harm, AND your fund-raising gain from both the label and this publicity, Asshole. It’s telling that the appeal doesn’t challenge the “defamation” part of the case, which was also dismissed.

  • Halou


  • JWC

    But char Blanche.. char

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Why do Hate Groups hate being called Hate Groups. So weird!

  • Galvestonian

    …but you are, Blanch … you are !

  • Boreal
    • PickyPecker

      Damn…so early in the day too.

  • DisqusD37

    Loved him in Poltergeist 2.

  • Droz

    It’s quite simple, Mat. Don’t do bad things and bad things won’t happen to you.

    • Silver Badger

      You mean, Karma’s not a bitch unless you are?

  • KevInPDX

    Not a very “Christ like” outfit, are they?!

  • Nowhereman

    They sure do hate being called a hate group, don’t they?

  • greenmanTN

    But ‘cha are, Mat, ya ARE a hate group!

    (Couldn’t find the Baby Jane gif I wanted.)

    • misterjack

      This one is bettah!

    • Bad Tom

      (Really excellent puppetry & moviemaking. Great camerawork, too.
      The actress had to be really careful to not hit her head.)

      • greenmanTN

        I love those old William Castle movies.

  • sadoldguy

    Maybe they could compromise on “Bigoted Hate Group”, or “RWNJ Hate Group”.

  • RJ Bone

    If it’s one thing a bigot can’t stand, it’s being called a bigot.

    Same with pretty much any of their side (racists especially). They wear the label, their lives get harder and their peers abandon them out of fear. Poor babies.

    • RJ Bone

      Even those with shitty lives, too! They’re almost all cowards in the end, unless they’re mentally disturbed. Certain vocal Nazis who like to get punched spring to mind.

  • The Sentinel

    Unfortunately, GuideStar removed the thoroughly appropriate Hate Group labels:
    “The complaints prompted GuideStar to reverse its course. The company said it’s removing the labels “for the time being” beginning Monday, in part because of concerns raised about their objectivity but also because of the threats against employees.”

    • RJ Bone

      I want to dislike their bullshit, but instead I’ll like you bringing awareness 🙂

    • Generic Commenter

      So now Liberty Counsel’s appeal is also “moot” in addition to “lacking substantive merit”

  • BeaverTales

    In Liberty Counsel’s universe, American churches are places where religious speech is always commercial speech. It’s performance art designed to extract maximum profit from the wallets of credulous audiences. It should be taxed just like circuses and amusement parks are.

    • AmeriCanadian

      Have you ever been in one of the mega-churches? It really is set up like an entertainment venue, complete with a stage (or three), big screen video, concert quality sound system, theatrical lighting, production crew, etc. Some are even televised. Disgusting doesn’t even begin to explain it.

      • Bad Tom

        “Have you ever been in one of the mega-churches?”
        Thankfully, NO. But I’ve seen pictures.

        • AmeriCanadian

          I would not have stepped foot into one but friends of mine invited me and I went out of curiosity. It was one of those non-denominational ones. I swear it sat like 1000 or so. The pastor (female) was “famous” for her pseudo-science such as critical mass thinking. I really tried to listen to the message but it was all hogwash. She was basically just throwing disjointed ideas around that had nothing to do with actual science. The congregation ate it up. During the music entertainment section, my one friend had his arms up in the air, swaying back and forth. At one point he gave me what appeared to be an embarrassed glance but he continued his show. Needless to say I did not return.

      • David Walker

        Yes. Once. I told my host that I had to go to the bathroom, which I then did at a nearby restaurant. So sickening. And I like theater, theater of the absurd, spectacular theater…and something about it was all so very, terribly not just an offense to their Jeebus to the gods of Theater. That’s pretty unforgivable.

  • Harveyrabbit
  • rednekokie

    Bigots never liked to be called out about it.

  • Leo
    • Lars Littlefield

      That’s too bad. According to our Secretary of State there’s nothing the US Homeland Security and government can do about it.

      • David Walker

        Srsly. We’re just so fucking powerless.

    • AmeriCanadian
    • canoebum

      These credit bureaus are little more than parasites, leeches, on financial consumers. They maintain databases full of erroneous or out-dated information, charge their victims to even see what they have, and make the process of removing incorrect information so byzantine and convoluted that most consumers don’t even bother. The government has failed consumers by allowing these companies to control our fortunes and take no responsibility for the damage they cause. I hope some executives go to prison for their criminal negligence in these breaches.

      • Generic Commenter

        They can change their “breeches” and wash them, though, can’t they? 🙂

        • canoebum

          I guess. Breaches. Better?

  • Cuberly Deux

    Lol….Mat wants anti-blasphemy laws implemented Nationwide. Mat being the dominionist High Inquisitor of course.

    • David

      The orange führer and kkk elf are working hard in his behalf.

      Don’t be surprised if local & national blasphemy laws start being officially introduced over the next year or so.

  • ColdCountry

    There is not enough shame in the universe to heap on the heads of those who claim to be persecuted as the Nazis persecuted the Jews.

    • greenmanTN

      Spending even 30 seconds looking at photos from the concentration camps ought to make them ashamed of that crap.

      • David Walker

        Yeah, but, you know…Jews. It’s the idea of persecution and martyrdom that turns Mat and his kind on, not the reality.

        • greenmanTN

          And the unmistakable odor of self-martyrdom is so hard to get out of fabric!

      • ColdCountry

        It ought to, but I fear it doesn’t. We seem to be living in an age of false equivalencies. Rather like those who say that to flash a woman, or to grope a woman, is the same as to rape a woman. No. No, it isn’t.

        • greenmanTN

          Yeah, both are bad, but there is a vast difference between a crude comment and rape. But I’m glad it’s being talked about.

  • Tom G

    Sure. Why not appeal and lose some more

    • David Walker

      It’s their business model. They do “martyr” better by not winning because the x-less secular world seeks to silence them. Yeah, right, but it works for them.

  • BearEyes

    donations must be down

    • clay

      The original case failed to show that.

      • BearEyes


  • David Walker

    OT. This is an excerpt from a New York Magazine excerpt from a book about people who’ve been involved in “Angels in America” productions. From the section on Roy Cohn:
    Jennifer Engstrom (the Angel at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, 2015): I feel like we are in a bizarro Part 3 of Angels in America, and the ghost of Roy Cohn is sweetly caressing the nuts of an American president who rides naked on horseback with Vladimir Putin.
    [Director Oskar] Eustis: Now, 25 years later, it’s Tony’s vision of the Right that looks so prescient. When Tony wrote Roy Cohn, he was a larger-than-life, demonic figure. Now his pupil is the president of the United States. Trump’s America is Roy Cohn’s America: sharply divided between winners and losers, hatred of the powerless used as a cynical tool to enrich the privileged. Thus proving, as Mark Harris says, that Tony’s drag name should be Eera Lee Prescient.
    [Nathan] Lane [who will reprise his London performance as Cohn next month on Broadway]: Tony was rather upset because these articles were starting about Trump and Roy, and he seemed almost insulted on Roy’s behalf that these comparisons were being made, because Roy was rather brilliant and this is just a crude version. I was laughing because I said, “I think you’re talking more about your character than the real guy.”

  • Chris Baker

    Isn’t GuideStar merely reporting on what that SPLC is saying? It’s not necessarily GuideStar’s opinion. Donors then have the option to weigh the statement based on how they view the SPLC.

    • David Walker

      Meh. Details. The more important thing, at least to me, is that they pulled the thing because employees had been threatened. I worked at PA’s umbrella nonprofit organization, PANO, and GuideStar was an absolutely indispensable part of checking organizations. It’s a shame that veracity has to be deleted because of death threats from a less-than-truthful group.

  • William of Glynn

    Well, ya gotta spend it on somethin’.

    — Martha Levinson

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Leader of Hate Group hates it when his group is labelled a Hate Group by those he calls Haters while ignoring the fact that he’s being hateful.

    Behold, the mobius loop of D’uh.

  • leo77

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’m trying to wrap my mind around what they’re asserting. They’re attempting to draw a direct line between the hate group designation and the fact that somewhere on the webpage there was a solicitation to join Guidestar? So the designation was advertising? You gotta be effing me. At what point do these lawsuits constitute harassment?

    So if Consumer Reports gives a car a poor review and there’s a link to subscribe to Consumer Reports at the bottom of the page the poor review would constitute as advertising for Consumer Reports?

  • Luther Kreiger

    That’s really funny, because I remember hearing how proud they were to be labeled a hate group not all that long ago… hmmm.

  • Terry

    I just think they’re being litigious on this one. Their argument doesn’t even make sense

  • DaveMiller135

    Again, Mat, this would be the perfect time to mention any activities of the “Liberty Counsel” which have any end other than harming gay people, and removing and blocking their civil rights. Anything?

  • Mark

    But ya are Mat…..

  • juanjo54
    • ChrisMorley

      The bibbul insists in Exodus that it was a Golden Calf. It’s far too early in its life for horns and a full udder.

      • Dazzer

        Pedant! 🙂

  • SDBear

    Isn’t Liberty Counsel still under investigation for abetting the kidnapping a child of a same-sex couple (one of whom had “converted” ) and sneaking her to somewhere in South America? That seems pretty hateful… and illegal.

  • -M-

    Unclear on the concept of a guidebook, Mat?

  • KCMC

    Forgive if this has surly already been posted:

    • Hank

      What is his Name and Number??? I am overdue for a HOT vacation!!!

  • Hank

    Staver…. when you and ALL of your ilk are placed in camps AND ovens, then lets talk!!! You and your group are MORE like Nazis, than anything else!!!

  • Ellipse Kirk

    But cha are Blanche

  • David

    Grifters gotta grift.

  • Kevin Andrews

    The Christ-O-Fascists always howl the loudest when confronted with the fruits of their “labors.”

  • DoctorDJ


  • Stubenville
  • The same groups bitching about being called hate groups are also the ones that claim that gay men are all pedophiles. I think we need to be suing THEM. That’s libel.

  • JCF
  • northern_neighbour

    Mat Staver … JGFY …. just go Fellate yourself.

    Yer welcum.

  • Thornton

    Mat Staver has his head so far up his @$$ he can’t see daylight. Comparing someone calling you names to the death of 6,000,000 Jews is as IMBECILIC and RIDICULOUS as $H!T. Mat Staver is an Idiotic, Moronic F*CKTARD!!