A former American University student government president was awarded more than $700,000 on Friday in a case against the founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, The Washington Post reported.
Taylor Dumpson, the university’s first black female student government president, sued Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer in 2017, accusing him of commanding his followers to bombard her with racist messages in a “troll storm.” Dumpson said the situation made her fear for her life and curbed her academic pursuits.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in Dumpson’s favor, concluding that “racist online trolling activity can interfere with one’s equal access to a public accommodation,” which in this case is an education, the Post reported.
The harassment began in May 2017, according to the lawsuit, around the time she was inaugurated as student government president. The AU campus just been hit with a racist attack: A masked man hung nooses with bananas filled with hateful messages, including references to Dumpson’s sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which has predominantly African-American members.
“No one feels safe around bananas,” Anglin wrote in an article about the incident. He published Dumpson’s name, photo and the links to her Facebook account and AU student government Twitter account, according to the Post, and called on his followers to “troll storm” her. Threatening messages and racist tweets flooded her social media accounts.
She stopped feeling safe on campus, opting to take ride shares rather than public transportation, the lawsuit reads. She carried pepper spray. She dropped a minor in sociology. Eventually she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, an eating disorder, depression and anxiety.
This isn’t the first lawsuit of its kind for Anglin. In July, he was told to pay $14 million to Tanya Gersh, a Jewish woman living in Montana, after he wrote an article directing a “troll storm” on her and her family.