An online campaign has raised more than $150,000 to defend the editor of the The Daily Stormer in a lawsuit brought against him by a Jewish woman who has accused him of “anti-Semitic harassment.”
Andrew Anglin runs the neo-Nazi website popular with the “alt-right,” a loose right-wing movement that includes white nationalists and anti-Semites. Almost 2,000 people have contributed to the crowdfunding effort in the past month, with 24 days still left to go.
Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent in Whitefish, Montana, sued Anglin on April 18 for launching a harassment campaign against her and her family.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which filed the lawsuit along with its Montana co-counsel on behalf of Gersh, describes The Daily Stormer as a “major neo-Nazi website” and refers to Anglin as “a well-known neo-Nazi.”
The fundraiser was initiated on the WeSearchr website in early May by a user named “weev,” which is the nickname of Andrew Aurnheimer, a troll and hacker who reportedly provides tech-support to The Daily Stormer and other websites.
Its stated goal is to “stop SPLC’s perfidious perjurers from destroying the alt-right’s biggest website!”
The Daily Stormer links to the fundraiser on its website.
Unlike other crowdfunding websites, WeSearchr is open to all users, according to Chuck C. Johnson, the controversial blogger who runs it. Catering to the alt-right, it has hosted fundraisers for far-right rallies and “bounties” for damaging information for perceived political opponents.
Gersh’s federal lawsuit seeks compensation for her losses and punitive damages and cites Montana state and federal laws protecting individuals from the invasion of privacy and from “intentionally inflicting emotional distress,” according to an SPLC release.
Anglin launched the campaign against Gersh after Sherry Spencer, the Whitefish, Montana-based mother of another white supremacist, Richard Spencer, posted an article on Medium accusing Gersh of threatening her with harassment if she did not sell the commercial building she owns in the town. Richard Spencer spends time in Whitefish, and there was talk at the time of staging protests outside the building.
Gersh, a realtor, contends that Sherry Spencer initiated contact, seeking to sell her building to head off the protests and to calm the town roiled by the rising profile of her son, who garnered media attention for his support US President Donald Trump's candidacy.
Anglin, on Dec. 16, a day after Sherry Spencer’s claims appeared on Medium, posted a screed titled “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion – TAKE ACTION!”
He included Gersh’s home address and phone, her husband’s business contact information, and the Twitter handle of her 12-year old son, whom he referred to in abusive terms.
“Please call her and tell her what you think,” Anglin said. “And hey – if you’re in the area, maybe you should stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions.”
Referring to Gersh’s son, Anglin advised his readers to “hit up” the boy’s Twitter account. “Tell them (sic) what you think of his whore mother’s vicious attack on the community of Whitefish,” Anglin wrote.
Anglin, in a post three days later, accused the “lying Jew media” of distorting his original post, citing liberal news websites that reported that he had called on his followers to harass Gersh and had posted her home address.
He said he “purposefully” left out home addresses, although the address he included is listed as the Gersh residence, and insisted, “I called for people to express their feelings about these threats and this harassment and extortion to the people responsible – and somehow I’m the threatener and harasser!”
In April, JTA asked Daily Stormer over Twitter if it had any comment. There was no reply.