‘Troll Storm’ Neo-Nazi Leader Andrew Anglin Named In Lawsuit By Jewish Real Estate Agent Tanya Gersh
In what may turn out to be an historic case, Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent, has filed a lawsuit against the man who incited a ‘troll storm’ against her in late 2016. Andrew Anglin is the founder of the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer and is named as the respondent in the lawsuit being pursued by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
After Anglin posted Gersh’s contact information to his site – along with the contact information for her family, and several other Jewish people in Whitefish, Montana, Gersh’s hometown – and requested that his readers “hit em up,” Gersh began to receive hundreds of threatening calls and emails.
“You really should’ve died in the Holocaust with the rest of your people,” one threat read.
“Ratfaced criminals who play with fire tend to get thrown in the oven,” another read.
Many of the threats she received included anti-Semitic slurs and hinted at future harm to her, her family, or other Jewish people.
The lawsuit “asserts claims for invasion of privacy, intentional inflicting of emotional distress, and violations of Montana’s Anti-Intimidation Act arising out of a coordinated, repulsive, threatening campaign of anti-Semitic harassment directed at Tanya Gersh.”
Anglin and his troll army targeted Gersh after Sherry Spencer – the mother of Richard Spencer, the founder of the white nationalist think-tank the National Policy Institute – accused Gersh of attempting to extort her.
Sherry Spencer’s son gained national notoriety late in 2016 for holding an event in Washington, D.C., at which he led his followers in an ‘Hail Trump’ chant and arm salute. Spencer, who owns property in Whitefish, claims that Gersh attempted to force her to sell the property because she, the mother of a white supremacist, would not be welcome in town.
Spencer posted an article to Medium detailing her complaint against Gersh. Included in the article were emails from Gersh but absent were Spencer’s replies. In one, Gersh encourages Spencer to sell the property and donate some of the profits to anti-racism groups. Gersh claims she was only trying to help the Spencer’s who reportedly don’t share their son’s extremist views.
Upon Sherry Spencer’s posting of the article, Anglin and Daily Stormer readers – the Daily Stormer is named after Der Stumer, a Nazi newspaper – decided to unleash their troll storm on Gersh.
Anglin claims that he told his readers not to act illegally and that he too, did not break any laws.
Anglin’s pleas of innocence clash directly with the trauma Gersh and her family attribute the the neo-Nazi. Gersh says she has experienced physical alterations including weight gain and hair loss due to stress. She also says that her job has been compromised and that she fears that if she continued to sell houses, her clients would become the target for harassment as well.
The complaint reads, “[Gersh] feels like an entirely different person than she did before the troll storm, as though she has been permanently altered.”
In the past, it has been difficult for plaintiffs to win cases against online harassment but Gersh’s lawyers believe the sheer volume of hate-messages sent her way, may prove favorable to her case. In terms of traffic, the Daily Stormer is currently the most popular white supremacy site.