In what could be a landmark case regarding Internet harassment, the Southern Poverty Law Center is going toe-to-toe with your favorite villain and mine: Nazis.
Okay, not the German guys from the 40’s. The new Nazis — the “alt-right,” headed up by their douchebag Kommandant, Richard Spencer, famous for heroically taking a punch right in the kisser so we could all point and laugh. Spencer’s far from alone, though. Not counting the literal hundreds of basement-dwelling neckbeards across the country who admire him, Spencer’s army includes failed reality star Tila Tequila, failed motivational speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, and failed human being Andrew Anglin, the babyman behind possibly the most offensively pro-Nazi site on the web, The Daily Stormer (see the cute reference to stormtroopers?).
Now Anglin, who hides outside U.S. jurisdiction while his dad cashes his checks back home in Ohio, is named in an SPLC lawsuit alleging that he incited his rabid followers to harass and intimidate a Jewish woman and her family in Montana. It gets a little murky, so let me sum:
- Richard Spencer has a vacation home in Whitefish, Montana
- Spencer’s mother accidentally (GASP!) hired a Jew to help her sell another property she owns nearby
- Mom decides she doesn’t like said Jew
- Anglin calls on his troll brigade to ruin the real estate agent’s life
- The Daily Stormer “doxxes” their victim’s family, complete with names, addresses, and phone numbers
- They also give out identifying information on other Jews in the same county, just for good measure
More than 700 phone calls, tweets, emails, and snail mails later, the family is terrified. After all, the callout on Anglin’s website read:
Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda
This is the new normal, unless we stop this garbage now. If this lawsuit against the neo-Nazis is successful, it could mark the beginning of the decline of this kind of online harassment. It’s always been easy to just hide behind a keyboard and declare your right to free speech. Now it may be time for them to learn freedom of speech is not the same as freedom from consequences.