Lawsuit against US neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin to move forward

Tanya Gersh has accused Anglin of stirring up an online, anti-Semitic 'troll storm' against her and her family.

    Members of the National Socialist Movement demonstrate in front of the US Capitol in 2008 [File: Haraz N Ghanbari/AP Photo]
    Members of the National Socialist Movement demonstrate in front of the US Capitol in 2008 [File: Haraz N Ghanbari/AP Photo]

    A federal magistrate judge decided that a neo-Nazi blogger's time living and travelling outside the United States does not justify dismissing a lawsuit over a flurry of anti-Semitic hate he stirred up against a Jewish real estate agent in 2016. 

    On Wednesday, US Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch's order said there was not sufficient evidence to prove that Andrew Anglin, who runs the infamous Daily Stormer blog, was "domiciled" outside the US when Tanya Gersh filed a suit against him in April 2017.

    Along with co-counsel in Montana, Gersh is being represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an Alabama-based hate monitor and legal advocacy group.

    Anglin's lawyers have argued that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case because the neo-Nazi was not a resident of any US state. They pointed to his travels in Greece, Cambodia and Thailand as evidence that he was a resident abroad.

    Marc Randazza, one of Anglin's lawyers, has not responded to Al Jazeera's numerous email requests for comment.

    The judge's decision was not a final ruling, and oral arguments for the motion to dismiss the case are slated to be heard on April 3, according to court documents seen by Al Jazeera.

    The SPLC says Anglin's Daily Stormer - a blog that includes sections such as "The Jewish Problem" and "Race War" - at one point received more than 400,000 views a month.

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    Speaking to Al Jazeera last August, David Dinielli, SPLC's lawyer on the case, said the wave of harassment triggered by Anglin is a part of an ongoing shift in the way people "terrorise" others.

    "In the past, they would have burned a cross on the lawn," he told Al Jazeera at the time. "Now they're doing it from behind a keyboard."

    'Take action'

    Anglin first set his sights on Gersh in December 2016, after the real estate agent had a disagreement with the mother of Richard Spencer, a prominent white supremacist and leading figure in the alt-right.

    The alt-right is a loosely knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis that advocates a white ethnostate.

    After Sherry Spencer first published a blog post about the dispute with Gersh, Anglin took to the Daily Stormer and urged his followers to "take action".

    Anglin titled his article: "Jews targeting Richard Spencer's mother for harassment and extortion - TAKE ACTION!"

    He published Gersh's phone number, address, social media profiles and email accounts. He also gave contact information for Gersh's husband and other acquaintances and linked to the Twitter account of Gersh's 12-year-old son.

    In the months that followed, Gersh's inbox, voicemail and mailbox filled up with death threats, harassment and hate messages.

    Among the messages sent to Gersh, according to the lawsuit, was one that said: "Listen here you f*cking Jew. You had better back off of Richard Spencer's mom. Everybody is watching you."

    A Twitter message sent to her son included an image of an oven. "Psst kid, there's a free Xbox One inside this oven," it read.

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    Since the deadly August 12 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a far-right demonstrator allegedly killed a 32-year-old activist when he ploughed his car into a crowd of anti-racists, Daily Stormer has struggled to maintain a home online.

    After that rally, Anglin lambasted the victim, Heather Heyer, on his website, prompting GoDaddy to boot the neo-Nazi blog. It has since been kicked from one web hosting service to another, often forced to operate on the dark web.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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