What did it take to launch the internet's most notorious neo-Nazi site? A little help from Dad
By MATT PEARCE | Los Angeles Times | Published: November 24, 2018
(Tribune News Service) — The white nationalists mailed their donations in dribs and drabs: Sometimes a $10 check, sometimes as money orders, sometimes in cash – often in U.S. dollars, but also in British pounds and other foreign currencies.
All of it went to support the Daily Stormer, the Internet's most notorious neo-Nazi website, featuring sections including "Jewish Problem" and "Race War." Over the last five years, the far-right site operated by Andrew Anglin, 34, raked in at least $100,000 to $125,000 from supporters, according to an estimate contained in court records filed last Friday.
The money went to an office – and later, a P.O. box – in Worthington, Ohio, maintained by Anglin's father, Greg, a retired therapist, who would collect and deposit the funds. Greg Anglin had helped his son, at the time a far-right blogger, set up the website in 2013 and it soon became one of the internet's top destinations for unabashed racists.
"I was sitting in my living room of my condo with my son, and he told me that he was going to start another website," Greg Anglin said in a deposition on Oct. 31, where he also revealed the details about the site's donations and finances. "And I said, OK. And he asked me if he could use my credit card to register the name. And I asked how much it was, and it wasn't very much money, so I said fine."
And thus the Daily Stormer was born.
When asked why he had assisted his son in setting up the site – and helped file incorporation documents and deposit donations – Greg Anglin replied: "I have a difficult time as a dad sometimes knowing what to support and what not to support. I don't take responsibility for someone else's actions."
But, under oath, he also indicated he was displeased with his son for registering the Daily Stormer website under his name.
"We had a very direct conversation where I told him I was very disappointed in him that he allowed that to happen, and that I wanted it removed immediately," Greg Anglin said. He also claimed not to know anything about the Daily Stormer's financial condition.
The disclosures provide a new window into the Daily Stormer's operations at a time when America's organized far right has been besieged by lawsuits and corporate crackdowns, a backlash incurred by the movement's increasingly bold attempts to gain more mainstream attention via social media and rallies.
Public concern about the movement's activities is arguably greater than ever, as law-enforcement officials report a sharp rise in hate crimes, including an Oct. 27 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead.
The Daily Stormer, which features a disavowal of violence on its homepage, first rose to public prominence in 2015 after a commenter on the site, Dylann Roof, killed nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, S.C.
"My ideology is very simple," Andrew Anglin said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times after the massacre. "I believe white people deserve their own country."
Its occasional targeted hostility has made many critics feel unsafe. After Anglin organized his readers to go on a "troll storm" against a Jewish woman in Montana – unleashing hundreds of messages directed at her – she filed a federal harassment lawsuit against the Daily Stormer in 2017 with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-extremism nonprofit that has filed a series of lawsuits against white supremacist groups, some of which have then gone into bankruptcy.
An attorney for Anglin has tried to mount a free speech defense to dismiss the case, but a federal judge in Montana rejected the request last week, writing, "Anglin exploited the prejudices widely held among his readers to specifically target one individual."
That has cleared the way for Anglin to face trial and possible financial damages.
Naturally, it's hard to run a website full time if you don't have the money to pay for web hosting – or food, or rent – which is among the things that makes litigation such a threat to the outlets of the far-right movement. But Anglin has made himself a hard man to reach.
Process servers for multiple lawsuits failed to locate Anglin in Ohio, and lawyers learned that Anglin had requested an absentee ballot for the 2016 election be sent to Krasnodar, Russia. Anglin checked a box that read, "I am a U.S. citizen residing outside the United States, and my return is not certain."
Anglin was also sued for defamation in federal court in Ohio by SiriusXM Radio host Dean Obeidallah after the Daily Stormer falsely accused Obeidallah, a Muslim American, of "masterminding" the 2017 terror attack in Manchester, England.
Anglin has declined to show up in court, so Obeidallah's attorneys have requested summary judgment to secure damages. As part of that request, they deposed Anglin's father to learn more about Andrew and his assets, filing excerpts of the deposition into the public record to support further discovery in the case. (An attorney for Obeidallah declined to comment.)
Greg Anglin told Obeidallah's attorneys that he didn't know where his son was, and he speculated that Andrew Anglin had been out of the country for five years, possibly in Russia and Thailand at various times. (Greg and Andrew Anglin did not respond to messages seeking comment.)
"He would have come and seen me if he was in the country," Greg Anglin said, adding: "He's a private person, and I'm a talkative guy. And so he prefers and I prefer to not know where he is."
Which is how Greg Anglin said he ended up handling his son's mail.
He said the donations started to spike in mid-2017, which is when the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., brought new attention to the far-right movement, and some of the donations include bitcoin.
His son's hate-for-profit business, registered in Ohio as Moonbase Holdings LLC, appeared to have benefits for Greg Anglin: In April of 2017, while undertaking a "real-estate rehab" project in Columbus, Greg Anglin said he borrowed $60,038 from his son's accumulated donations and paid the money back when he was done.
But Greg Anglin also hinted that the Daily Stormer had injected a frost into his relationship with his son, telling the lawyers that he had told his son that he was frustrated that he had to testify and that he told his son that "I will not open any correspondence addressed to Daily Stormer or to Moonbase holdings."
Greg Anglin said he made his final deposit for his son in December 2017 – "I just think that we were winding up that whole cash thing" – and revealed the comical futility of outsiders now trying to mail anything to his son.
"I put them in a big plastic tub," Greg Anglin said of the legal documents that his son receives.
"And what happens to them afterwards?" an attorney for Obeidallah asked.
"They sit in the tub."
"You don't forward them on to anybody?"
"No, I do not."
"And what about letters from the Internal Revenue Service that were directed to that address, what did you do with those?"
Greg Anglin responded: "Throw them away."
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