On Monday, federal judge Jeremiah C. Lynch recommended that neo-Nazi Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin be ordered to pay Jewish Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh more than $14 million in damages, because Anglin had “acted with actual malice” against his victim, Gersh—posting her contact information online and encouraging his readers to harass her.
“Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda,” Anglin wrote back in December 2016, urging his readers: “Are y’all ready for an old-fashioned Troll Storm? Because AYO — it’s that time, fam.”
Whitefish, Montana Jewish real estate agent Tanya Gersh filed a civil suit against Andrew Anglin in April 2017, accusing him of invading Gersh’s privacy, inflicting emotional distress on her, and calling on readers to target her with e-mails and phone calls, in violation of Montana’s anti-intimidation act.
The lawsuit describes how Andrew Anglin used his Daily Stormer – the leading white power website in the US – to publish 30 articles urging his followers to launch a “troll storm” against Gersh. As a result, Gersh, her husband and their 12-year-old son received more than 700 harassing messages since December.
The intimidation campaign was launched by Anglin because, he alleged, Gersh had tried to extort money from Richard Spencer’s mother. Spencer is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank advocating for a white homeland for the “dispossessed white race” and “peaceful ethnic cleansing” against the “deconstruction” of white European culture. He’s the strange person who was immortalized shouting “Hail Trump” at a Washington, DC, white supremacist conference celebrating Donald Trump’s election.
Sherry Spencer, the young Nazi’s mother, owns a building in Whitefish which became a target for anti-Nazi protesters, who demanded that Mrs. Spencer disavow her son’s extremist views. In the midst of this crazy-meets-crazier standoff, real estate Tanya Gersh, who is Jewish, agreed to help sell the building after Sherry Spencer had reached out to her. But then Sherry told her Nazi offspring, and suddenly had a change of heart and posted an article online accusing Gersh of extortion.
Anglin’s headline read: “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion – TAKE ACTION!” The post included Gersh’s contact information. It also included photographs of Gersh, her husband and son. One photo was altered to include a yellow Star of David with the label “Jude.”
Anglin has been on a Nazi tear since Presiddent Trump 2016 victory, which he described: “Our Glorious Leader has ascended to God Emperor. Make no mistake about it: we did this. If it were not for us, it wouldn’t have been possible.” He also encouraged fellow neo-Nazis to harass Muslims and “any foreigners you see. We want these people to feel unwanted. We want them to feel that everything around them is against them. And we want them to be afraid.”
The “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother” article prompted hundreds of threatening telephone calls, voicemails, texts, emails, social media messages, letters and postcards. Among them:
“Thanks for demonstrating why your race needs to be collectively ovened.”
“You have no idea what you are doing, six million are only the beginning.”
“We are going to keep track of you for the rest of your life.”
“You will be driven to the brink of suicide & We will be there to take pleasure in your pain & eventual end.”
One message included an image of Gersh being sprayed with a green gas, along with the words: “Hickory dickory dock, the kike ran up the clock. The clock struck three and the Internet Nazis trolls gassed the rest of them.”
An email to Gersh’s husband read: “Put your uppity slut wife Tanya back in her cage, you rat-faced kike. … Day of the rope soon for your entire family.”
Gersh’s son received a tweet with the image of an open oven and the message: “psst kid, there’s a free Xbox One inside this oven.”
There were also phone calls that consisted only of the sound of gunshots.
The campaign escalated to the point that Anglin planned an armed march in Whitefish that he threatened would end outside Gersh’s home. He promoted the march, which never materialized, with an image that superimposed Gersh, her son and two other Jewish residents on a picture of the front gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The threats have taken an emotional and physical toll on Gersh. She experiences panic attacks and fears answering the phone. She often goes to bed in tears and wakes up crying. She has trouble leaving her home and feels anxiety in crowds. She has gained weight, has lost hair and is in physical pain. She has been prescribed medication and has sought other treatment, including 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.”
Last week, Gersh told reporters at the court house, “I was frightened to the point that we couldn’t think straight. We talked about waking our children in the middle of the night — to run from Nazis.”
Even though Gersh may not see any of the money (Anglin may be broke by now, having been sued by numerous victims), she said that “this lawsuit has always been about stopping others from enduring the terror I continue to live through at the hands of a neo-Nazi and his followers.”