Citing the need to protect free speech, 20–year–old Nick Lim and his Seattle–based tech startup BitMitigate helped the neo–Nazi website The Daily Stormer return to the internet on Friday after being blocked by several internet service providers throughout the week.
But free speech is only one argument Lim, who is Asian American, offered for his efforts to facilitate the site’s new incarnation at dailystormer.lol. According to a report by ProPublica, Lim also did it to promote his company, which offers protection from denial of services attacks.
“I thought it would really get my service out there,” he said about his decision to seek out Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin with an offer of help.
The Daily Stormer was forced into the Dark Web after Cloudflare, GoDaddy, and Google blocked it for mocking Heather Heyer, the 32–year–old anti–racist protester killed last weekend in a neo–Nazi terrorist attack in Charlottesville. In what The Washington Times described as “neo–Nazi whack–a–mole,” Russia’s state-run internet watchdog Roskomnadzor also booted the site from another domain after its original .com address was taken down.
Some are praising Lim for this move, however, including neo–Nazis, who named him an “honorary Aryan and hero of the white race.”
“I don’t know you man, but Nick, if you’re reading this… Thank you for what you do and for standing up for free speech,” the editor of the white supremacist site The Daily Heathen wrote. “It really means a lot to me to see someone who isn’t white standing up for the rights of white nationalists and so-called ‘racists’ to speak freely.”
Others congratulated him for “standing up for what’s legal”:
Lim defended his actions on Twitter by saying, “it’s not for me to play god…”
As ProPublica noted:
According to Lim, he was monitoring news reports and learned that services like Cloudflare, along with GoDaddy and Google, had dropped The Daily Stormer after an outcry from activists. He thought their actions violated Anglin’s rights to free speech and reached out to The Daily Stormer to offer help.
Lim, whose domain bitmitigate.com was registered in March, said he was small compared to giants like Cloudflare, and also wanted to create publicity for his company. “This whole thing is really entertaining,” he said.
Wilfred Chan contributed to this story.