The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) and a woman who suffered for months at the hands of anti-Semitic trolls are suing the infamous neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer .
The SPLC alleges in the lawsuit that the website organized a "troll army" against Tanya Gersh, a real estate agent in Whitefish, Montana, and her family. The nonprofit states that Andrew Anglin was set off when Gersh was accused by the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer of attempting to extort money by forcing her to sell her home.
In response to Ms. Spencer's claims, the SPLC states that Anglin published over 30 articles targeting the real estate agent. The first article was published one day after Ms. Spencer made these claims. In the articles Anglin urged his followers to target Gersh and her family. One of the articles featured the headline "Jews Targeting Richard Spencer's Mother for Harassment and Extortion – TAKE ACTION!"
"Mr. Anglin encouraged readers to call Ms. Gersh 'and tell her what you think. And hey—if you're in the area, maybe you should stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions,'" reads the statement of claim.
None of the allegations made in the lawsuit have been proven in court.
The SPLC alleges in further articles Anglin released Gersh's cellphone number and the address of her husband's office. The articles and doxxing prompted followers to launch what the SPLC calls, a "troll storm" against Gersh. The SPLC alleges that these trolls inundated Gersh and her family with over 700 threatening messages, phone calls and emails since December.
"The calls that most disturbed Ms. Gersh consisted only of the sound of guns being fired," reads the lawsuit.
The SPLC says these messages contained death threats and were primarily anti-Semitic. One of them sent from the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" stated "You have no idea what you are doing, six million are only the beginning." The lawsuit also alleges Anglin targeted Gersh's son by sharing his Twitter handle. It also claims Anglin called the 12-year-old boy a "creepy little faggot" and a "scamming little kike." They also sent messages to her colleagues and superiors at work calling for her to be fired.
Since the trolling has began, Gersh has said that she fears for the safety of herself and her family, and has not been able to continue her work as a real estate agent.
"This attack has been one long nightmare that has changed me forever in so many ways," Gersh said in the release. "No one should endure what I've experienced. And with the love and support of my family and others, we will take a stand against hate."
The Daily Stormer was founded in 2013, and it's unknown where Anglin lives. The website takes its name from the Der Stürmer, a neo-Nazi propaganda paper in Hitler's Germany. For its role in the Holocaust, Der Stürmer's editor, Julius Streicher, was executed for crimes against humanity. The Daily Stormer gets around 2 million sessions per month and routinely organizes what it calls its "troll army" to swarm people online. It has targeted politicians, journalists, and activists.
The SPLC says that they launched the lawsuit with Gersh to discourage racist mob tactics like this from occurring the future.
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