In mid-July, a judge in Helena Montana suggested that Andrew Anglin, publisher of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, should have to pay millions to the victim of a “troll storm” that Anglin incited.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch said that Anglin’s behavior was “reprehensible” and “atrocious,” and that he should have to pay over $14 million to Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh, her husband and her now-14-year-old son in damages. Lynch doesn’t have the final say, though – U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen has to approve first.
In 2016, Anglin accused Gersh of trying to run white nationalist Richard Spencer’s mother out of Whitefish, Montana. After Anglin levied the accusations against her, Gersh’s family received hundreds of “threatening, harassing and anti-Semitic messages.”
Gersh then sued Anglin, who claimed the things he wrote on The Daily Stormer were protected under the First Amendment. He failed to show up for a deposition scheduled last April, and his attorneys withdrew from the case.
Gersh is still receiving messages, according to Lynch.
The family’s attorney, David Dinelli, who works with the Southern Poverty Law Center, says it’s not about the money.
“The significance is not in whether we will collect the money,” Dinielli said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. “The significance is that Tanya Gersh, a real estate agent from a small town in Montana, stood up to fight the most notorious neo-Nazi on the web, and she won.”
Anglin is currently living outside the U.S. and is facing default judgements in at least three other federal cases – including two lawsuits filed by other targets of his online trolling campaigns.
What Do You Think?
Do you think the judge is recommending the right amount of damages? What would you recommend?