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Silicon Valley deals devastating blow to digital face of alt-right leader Richard Spencer

The web host GoDaddy booted Richard Spencer’s website off its platform Thursday, dealing yet another digital blow from a mainstream tech company to the alt-right thought leader’s online face.

by Tess Owen
May 3 2018, 10:53pm

The web host GoDaddy booted Richard Spencer’s website off its platform Thursday, dealing yet another digital blow from a mainstream tech company to the alt-right thought leader’s online profile.

GoDaddy’s decision to remove Altright.com came under pressure from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

“Websites like Altright.com fuel racial violence and dangerous white supremacist activity all across our country,” said Lawyers Committee President and Executive Director Kristen Clark in a statement. “We will continue using every tool in our arsenal to confront the rise in hate and to obstruct the work of those bent on polarizing communities and sowing hatred by inciting violence.”

The organization sent a letter to GoDaddy on April 20 noting examples where they believed content on Spencer’s website violated the web host’s Universal Terms of Service.

“Altright.com includes content that ‘promotes’ and/or ‘encourages’ illegal activity and acts of violence against minorities and other historically marginalized groups,” the letter stated.

One example they offered was from a January article that suggested it would be appropriate to use live ammunition at the Mexican border to ensure there would be “a substantial chance that they [immigrants crossing the border] lose their life in the process.”

A spokesperson for GoDaddy told BuzzFeed News that it gave Spencer 48 hours to salvage his domain by transferring it to a new web host, which he failed to do. “In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in specific acts of violence against any person, we will take action,” GoDaddy told Buzzfeed. “It is our determination that altright.com crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence in a direct and threatening manner."

Earlier this week, the WePay online payment service also booted Spencer from its platform, which he had relied on to crowdsource money from alt-right followers to fund various lawsuits stemming from the violent Unite the Right rally last summer.

“The good news is that the vast majority of payments have been deposited,” Spencer wrote on Twitter.

“I’m under attack,” Spencer wrote on another fundraising platform page that is still live. “And I need your help.” So far he’s raised nearly $900, just a sliver of the declared goal of $25,000, which he needs to hire a lawyer.

Last month, Facebook also removed two pages linked to Spencer (including one linking to altright.com) after they were flagged by VICE News.

But at least Spencer still has friends at Gab, the place where racists go when they’re kicked off Twitter. “You are horrible people,” Gab wrote on Twitter, referring to the Lawyer’s Committee. “This is what authoritarian fascism actually looks like. You should be ashamed of yourselves. If you don't like the content on a website, don't visit it. Those who have no argument and terrible ideas are forced to censor others. Sickening.”

Cover image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images