Taylor Dumpson will finally get some level of justice after white supremacist trolls harassed her relentlessly for being the first black female student government president at American University.
Her election in May 2017 drew national media attention after bananas were discovered hanging from nooses on the D.C. campus bearing hateful messages. The neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer and its publisher, Andrew Anglin, posted the story on Facebook, and Anglin whipped his followers into a vicious “troll storm” against Dumpson.
Dumpson brought suit, and now one of the men who aggressively went after her on social media, Evan James McCarty of Oregon, will face his punishment. According to the settlement agreement released Tuesday, McCarty will have to complete one year of anti-hate training sessions and four academic courses on issues relating to gender and race. Then, for two years, he’ll have to publicly advocate against hate and perhaps work with deradicalization groups for white supremacists.
And he has to apologize — twice, in written and video forms — and Dumpson, now a 22-year-old law school student, can release the video for educational and advocacy purposes if she wishes. Her suit, filed in April, named Anglin, McCarty and a person named Brian Andrew Ade, who she says also harassed her online. Anglin and Ade were not involved in Tuesday’s settlement agreement.
In each apology, McCarty will have to renounce white supremacy, sexism and white nationalism, while also acknowledging the emotional and physical toll online trolling can have on its victims.
“Following the nooses and the threatening statements on the bananas, as a result of the publication of her name, photo, and contact information; the exhortation to intimidate her online; and the ensuing threats and harassment, Ms. Dumpson suffered severe mental and physical trauma, the impact of which touches every aspect of her life,” the original lawsuit reads. “She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and lives in constant fear for her safety.”
McCarty harassed Dumpson on Twitter under the pseudonym “Byron de la Vandal,” which appears to reference the man who killed civil rights leader Medgar Evers, Byron De La Beckwith. At one point, McCarty tweeted “everybody bring bananas” at a student government account posting information about an upcoming student town hall, where Dumpson would be present. He continued to tweet pictures of bananas at her account and others, along with the phrase “ooga booga,” meant to demean Dumpson and other African-Americans by comparing her to a monkey.
Cover image: American University student government president Taylor Dumpson speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017. Several bananas hanging from nooses were found on the AU campus on Monday, May 1, 2017, less than a day after Dumpson became the school's first black student body president. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)