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Daily Stormer Not Protected By 1st Amendment — Because, Um, ‘Terror Campaign’?

A federal judge in Montana ruled this week that the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer is not protected under the First Amendment, after it was accused of organizing a “terror campaign” against a Jewish real estate agent, the New York Times reported.

Dana Christensen, the chief judge for United States District Court in Missoula, denied a motion to dismiss the case. He reasoned that the publisher, Andrew Anglin, convinced his followers to harass Tanya Gersh, the real estate agent and a private, not public, citizen.

In the fall of 2016, the Daily Stormer began publishing articles attacking Gersh after she advised Sherry Spencer, mother of white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, to sell a building she owns in Whitefish, considering rumors that residents planned to protest there. Gersh also suggested denouncing her son’s views — the protest was to be in response to a video of Richard Spencer, who lives in Whitefish part time, shouting “Hail Trump! Hail our people!”

Sherry Spencer then wrote a blog post on Medium, alleging that Gersh tried to extort her and ruin her relationship with her son, according to The Daily Dot. The Daily Stormer wrote more than 30 articles on the subject and called for a “troll storm” against the real estate agent.

“Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda to attack and harm the mother of someone whom they disagree with,” Anglin wrote, according to the suit.

In the posts were the phone numbers, email addresses and social media profiles of Gersh, her husband and 12-year-old son. That spring, they received more than 700 hateful messages, including death threats and Holocaust comments.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit on Gersh’s behalf in April 2017. This is the second time Anglin sought to have it dismissed, according to the Times.

“Anglin did not use speech about Gersh to raise awareness for issues consonant with the alt-right agenda,” Christensen ruled, arguing that he spewed anti-Semitic remarks that riled up his followers.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher


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