The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has filed a lawsuit against Andrew Anglin, alt-right founder of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, in relation to a “terror campaign” against a Jewish woman.
According to the lawsuit, Anglin used his website as a platform to encourage his followers to harass and terrorize Tanya Gersh, a real estate agent living in Whitefish, Montana, as well as her husband and 12-year-old son.
In one post Anglin encourages his readers to “TAKE ACTION!” against Gersh and other Jewish people living in Montana.
“Are y’all ready for an old fashioned Troll Storm? Because AYO — it’s that time, fam,” the post says. “And as always: NO VIOLENCE OR THREATS OF VIOLENCE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE TO THAT. Just make your opinions known. Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda to attack and harm the mother of someone whom they disagree with.”
The post also includes Gersh’s home address and telephone number.
“Please call her and tell her what you think. And hey — if you’re in the area, maybe you should stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions,” Anglin writes.
“In the old days, Andrew Anglin would have burned a cross on Tanya’s front lawn,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said. “In the digital age, he launched a troll storm against her.”
Gersh reportedly received over 700 harassing and threatening messages.
At a press call on Tuesday Gersh recounted incidents she and her family have endured.
“I once answered the phone and all I heard were gunshots. One time I answered the phone and heard, ‘You really should have died in the Holocaust with the rest of your people,’” she said, adding, “This was so far beyond harassment. This was really terrorism.”
The lawsuit details some of the disturbing communications:
“This tsunami of threats arrived by email, social media, and voicemail: ‘We are going to ruin you, you Kike PoS [piece of sh*t] … You will be driven to the brink of suicide. & We will be there to take pleasure in your pain & eventual end.’ Unidentified individuals threatened, ‘This is the goylash. You remember the last goylash, don’t you Tanya?’ and, ‘Ratfaced criminals who play with fire tend to get thrown in the oven.’”
According to the lawsuit, the harassment campaign began when Gersh became professionally involved with Sherry Spencer, mother of Richard Spencer, an alt-right figure who came to notoriety following a viral video of him saying, “Hail Hitler!” and a group of his supporters responding with Nazi salutes. Gersh was going to help Sherry Spencer sell a commercial building in Whitefish after Spencer became concerned about rumors that her property would be the target of protests following her son’s viral video.
Sherry Spencer eventually changed her mind, according to the lawsuit, and asked Gersh if she could move forward independently. Gersh agreed and provided names of other real estate agents. According to the lawsuit, “These emails were the last communication between Ms. Spencer and Ms. Gersh.”
Then, about two weeks later, Sherry Spencer unexpectedly published a blog post on Medium, in which she said Gersh “tried to threaten and extort her into agreeing to sell her building, making a donation, and denouncing her son’s views.” Anglin began his barrage of attacks against Gersh just after Spencer posted her essay.
Gersh’s family members were also harassed. Her young son was directly targeted on social media. A Twitter user posted a message tagging the young boy, saying, “psst kid, theres a free Xbox One inside this oven.” The user’s Twitter handle was “Kaiser Wilhelm II” after the anti-Semitic German emperor.
Gersh’s husband also received a threatening email at work: “Put your uppity slut wife Tanya back in her cage, you rat-faced kike. Tell your scamming son [name omitted] to kill himself, too. Day of the rope soon for your entire family.”
SPLC reports that, as a result of the harassment campaign, Gersh now experiences anxiety, panic attacks, fear of answering the phone and nervousness in crowds. She suffers physical pain, has been prescribed medication, has lost her hair and attended trauma therapy.
“This attack has been one long nightmare that has changed me forever in so many ways,” Gersh said. “No one should endure what I’ve experienced. And with the love and support of my family and others, we will take a stand against hate.”
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.