Andrew Anglin, who publishes the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, has been ordered to pay $14 million to a woman whom he asked his followers to harass, according to BuzzFeed News.
Federal judge Jeremiah Lynch found in Missoula, MT that Anglin “acted with actual malice” by telling his followers, “Let’s Hit Em Up. Are y’all ready for an old fashioned Troll Storm? Because AYO - it’s time, fam.”
The target of these attacks was Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh and her family. Anglin and his followers also targeted Gersh’s workplace.
The judge levied $10 million, the maximum state punitive damages, for what he called “particularly egregious and reprehensible” behavior by Anglin to “punish Anglin and deter him from engaging in such conduct in the future.” The judgement also included $200,000 for lost earnings and medical expenses, $821,000 for future lost earnings, and $3 million for pain and suffering.
The origins of the harassment against Gersh are convoluted.
The targeted harassment against Gersh began in late 2016, when the Montana woman reached out to Sherry Spencer, the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer, about a protest planned at a building she owned.
According to court records, Gersh offered to help Spencer sell the building but, on Dec. 15, 2016, Spencer published a post on Medium claiming Gersh was trying to extort her.
The following day, Anglin posted the first post about Gersh on The Daily Stormer, titled, “Jews Targeting Richard Spencer’s Mother for Harassment and Extortion - TAKE ACTION!”
“If you’re in the area, maybe you should stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions,” he wrote, adding that those who do should not do anything violent.
All in all, Anglin posted two dozen times about Gersh, including publishing her and her family’s contact information.
“This is the goylash,” one message sent to Gersh read. “You remember the last goylash, don’t you Tanya? Merry Christmas, you Christ killing Jew.”
Gersh was devastated by the attacks, as the Washington Post wrote on Tuesday:
Gersh, her husband and their 12-year-old son were flooded with vile phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media posts, many of which contained death threats and anti-Semitic slurs. Gersh, who is Jewish, was told that she should have perished in the Holocaust, and received chilling voice mails with the sound of a gun firing again and again. She began experiencing panic attacks that left her vomiting and short of breath.
“I was frightened to the point that we couldn’t think straight,” Gersh told reporters after a court hearing last week. “We talked about waking our children in the middle of the night — to run from Nazis.”
The judge ordered Anglin to remove all posts and photos related to Gersh’s family from the Daily Stormer. They are apparently still receiving harassment. “[The] atrocious conduct directed at Gersh and her family has not entirely abated,” the judge wrote.
This is not the only fine that’s been recently levied against Anglin. Last month, he was hit with a $4.1 million fine in a defamation lawsuit for accusing a radio producer of being a terrorist.
But none of this means Anglin will actually pay these fines. He fled the country to an unknown location in 2017 and doesn’t seem to plan to return. For this reason, Anglin was largely absent during the case. For weeks, lawyers couldn’t even get in touch with him. His lawyers eventually fired him for leaving the country.
“My client made the decision years ago he was going to expatriate himself and never return,” Anglin’s lawyer, Marc Randazza, told The Missoulian. “When a federal judge tells you to do something and you refuse, you put your lawyer in a difficult position.”