For too long, law enforcement and the courts have refused to acknowledge the real-world damage that can be done by online hate, but that attitude seems to be turning around. In just the past few months, one internet “troll” has been ordered to pay a total of more than $20 million to three different targets of his online vitriol.
Andrew Anglin is the publisher of a neo-Nazi website called The Daily Stormer that has targeted (among others) a black female college student, a Jewish real estate agent, and an Arab-American comedian. In June, the comedian won a $4.1 million lawsuit against Anglin, and shortly after that, Anglin was ordered to pay the real estate agent $14 million.
The most recent award against Anglin is for $725,000 for targeting Taylor Dumpson, the first African American female student body president of American University. The award includes $500,000 as punishment for his actions, plus $124,000 in legal fees and costs, and $101,000 to compensate Dumpson for the damage she suffered.
Dumpson was the target of racist hate and vitriol from the day she was sworn in as student body president of American University, back in May of 2017, when bananas hanging from nooses were found all over campus. Many of the bananas had messages written on them, including references to her predominantly black sorority, and to a gorilla that was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016.
After news outlets reported on the bananas in nooses around the American University campus, Anglin published Dumpson’s personal information on The Daily Stormer and allegedly encouraged harassment against her. Two of Anglin’s followers, Brian Ade and Evan McCarty, responded to Anglin’s call by allegedly harassing Dumpson online with racist and demeaning messages and threats. Continue reading ›