A Whitefish, Montana woman has taken on neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer in a federal lawsuit, charging its publisher Andrew Anglin started a campaign of anti-Semitic harassment against her when she had a falling out with the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Tanya Gersh, who is Jewish, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula against Anglin, who publishes from Ohio, according to the Great Falls Tribune.
The lawsuit claims that Anglin launched a social media campaign called a "troll storm" against Gersh after she had a conflict with Sherry Spencer.
"The lawsuit describes how Andrew Anglin used his web forum, the Daily Stormer – the leading extremist website in the country – to publish 30 articles urging his followers to launch a 'troll storm' against Tanya Gersh, a real estate agent in Whitefish, Montana," said the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is participating in the suit.
"Gersh, her husband and 12-year-old son have received more than 700 harassing messages since December. The intimidation began after Anglin accused Gersh of attempting to extort money from the mother of Richard Spencer. The younger Spencer heads the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist organization."
Sherry Spencer, Richard Spencer's mother, had talked with Gersh about what to do with a building she owns after some Whitefish residents considered protesting in front of the property because of her son's activities, said the Tribune.
The two eventually had a falling out, leading to Sherry Spencer writing a post on the blog Medium in December, accusing Gersh of threatening her.
"(Gersh) relayed to me that if I did not sell my building, 200 protesters and national media would show up outside – which would drive down the property value – until I complied," Sherry Spencer wrote on Medium about an alleged November conversation between the two.
The next day, the Tribune said, Anglin allegedly started the first in his series of columns targeting Gersh.
The lawsuit charges that Anglin provided photos, phone numbers, email addresses and links to social media profiles for Gersh, her son, friends and colleagues, telling his followers to "Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda." He also threatened a march to Gersh's home, per the Tribune.
Gersh is suffering from anxiety, is no longer working and is in trauma therapy.
"Andrew Anglin knew he had an online army primed to attack with the click of a mouse," said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "We intend to hold him accountable for the suffering he has caused Ms. Gersh and to send a strong message to those who use their online platforms as weapons of intimidation."
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