A lawsuit against the founder of the neo-Nazi publication the Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, a far-right extremist who named the publication after the propaganda paper of the Third Reich, has cleared a major legal hurdle.
Anglin’s lawyers had challenged the US courts’ jurisdiction in the case, claiming he was not “a citizen of any state” and was not resident in the US when the alleged conduct was committed. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch dismissed this, stating that there was clear evidence that Anglin was domiciled in Ohio when the lawsuit was filed.
Tanya Gersh commenced legal action against Anglin last April, alleging that he had intentionally inflicted “emotional distress” against her, in breach of a Montana anti-intimidation law. Gersh claims that Anglin initiated what turned into a barrage of antisemitic abuse directed at her and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, when he claimed that they were running an “extortion racket” against the mother of Anglin’s fellow neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. Anglin allegedly publicised the personal information of Jewish residents to his neo-Nazi following, which Gersh claims was used to incite the campaign; one of his articles allegedly urged neo-Nazis to “take action” against Gersh and other Jewish residents of Whitefish.
Gersh claims that her family received reams of threatening antisemitic messages, including her 12-year-old son.
Critics have accused Anglin of attempting to evade the lawsuit by concealing his whereabouts, which he claims he has done in response to “credible death threats”. He vacated the United States in 2010, but Gersh’s lawyers successfully proved he had maintained sufficient business, civic and family ties to the US to demonstrate that he was still domiciled there, including maintaining a postal address to receive donations. Speaking from the Bench, Magistrate Lynch said “even assuming Anglin’s statements are true, they are not sufficient to demonstrate that he lost his Ohio domicile by acquiring a new one abroad”.
David Dinielli, representing Gersh from the Southern Poverty Law Center, claimed that the decision was a clear indication that “you can run but you can’t hide” and that “traipsing around the world doesn’t mean you can escape the responsibility for the harm you caused in the U.S., even if that conduct occurred over the internet”.
Whilst the contemporary far right has attempted to re-brand itself into something more palatable, Anglin’s publication is explicitly neo-Nazi, with sections on the “Jewish question” and “race war”. Google and GoDaddy temporarily rendered the site inaccessible after Anglin mocked the victim of a neo-Nazi terrorist in a car ramming attack at Charlottesville.
Anglin’s site is currently describing Gersh and her team as “Jewish terrorists” on a bulletin pictured below.