The publisher of a notorious neo-Nazi website was sued in federal court Tuesday for allegedly targeting a Jewish real estate agent and her family with an anti-Semitic “troll storm.”
Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer is the sole defendant listed on a 63-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Tanya Gersh, a Montana resident who says she received hundreds of hateful and terrorizing communications on account of Mr. Anglin and his website.
Mr. Anglin began writing about Ms. Gersh on the Daily Stormer last year after the real estate agent was accused of extorting Sherry Spencer, a part-time Montana resident and the mother of Richard Spencer, a controversial white nationalist infamous in his own right.
Ms. Gersh spoke to Ms. Spencer last November about potentially selling a property the latter owns in Whitefish, Mont., according to the lawsuit. Ms. Spencer severed ties with the real estate agent a few days later, however, and subsequently penned a blog post on the website Medium accusing Ms. Gersh of threatening to pressure her into agreeing to selling the building.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Spencer’s blog post prompted Mr. Anglin to begin targeting the agent from his own website within a matter of hours.
“The day after Ms. Spencer’s Medium post, Mr. Anglin began posting articles on the Daily Stormer parroting Ms. Spencer’s allegations against Ms. Gersh and calling for a troll storm against her,” according to the lawsuit.
“Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda,” Mr. Anglin wrote on December 16, 2016. “This is very important. Calling these people up and/or sending them a quick message is very easy. It is very important that we make them feel the kind of pressure they are making us feel.”
Attorneys for Ms. Gersh, her husband and her 12-year-old son soon encountered an avalanche of threatening, hateful and harassing communications, including hundreds of intimidating emails, phone calls and text messages. In the meantime, Mr. Anglin continued to churn out article after article rife with anti-Semitic commentary in addition to urging readers to descend on Whitefish for an armed protest during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
“Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either,” Mr. Anglin wrote in a December 22 blog post. The event ultimately never occurred.
Backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights watchdog, Ms. Gersh is suing the Daily Stormer’s publisher for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, malice and violating the Montana Anti-Discrimination Act, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in Montana federal court. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages, according to the lawsuit.
“Andrew Anglin knew he had an online army primed to attack with the click of a mouse,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement. “We intend to hold him accountable for the suffering he has caused Ms. Gersh and to send a strong message to those who use their online platforms as weapons of intimidation.”
“My friends used to joke that I was the happiest girl on the planet,” she told NBC News. “Overnight, my life was stolen from me. I’m in trauma therapy and the safe world I lived in inside my beautiful mountain town was changed for me.”
Mr. Anglin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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