A Jewish Whitefish real estate agent has filed a civil lawsuit against the founder of a neo-Nazi website saying that an anti-Semitic harassment campaign was launched against her and her family.
The lawsuit filed by Tanya Gersh accuses Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin of launching a terror campaign, also known as a “troll storm” on his neo-Nazi website.
Gersh alleges in the lawsuit that Anglin justified his call to arms as retribution against Gersh who he accused of extorting part-time Whitefish resident Sherry Spencer, the mother of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.
Richard Spencer gained notoriety when a viral video emerged of Spencer spouting racist rhetoric and declaring “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail Victory!” at a gathering of white nationalists giving Nazi salutes in Washington D.C. after the November election.
After the video’s release, some Whitefish residents who were displeased with Richard Spencer’s hateful ideology and concerned that Sherry Spencer had not disavowed her son’s racist views, were considering protesting in front of a mixed-use commercial building that Sherry Spencer owns in downtown Whitefish.
In Gersh lawsuit, she said she agreed to sell Sherry Spencer’s commercial property amid talk of a protest outside the building. Gersh says communications with Sherry Spencer about the sale of the building ended after Thanksgiving 2016.
Gersh says Sherry Spencer published a blog post on the website Medium in late November alleging that Gersh had tried to threaten and extort her into agreeing to sell her building, and making a donation and denouncing her son’s views.
The day after Sherry Spencer’s Medium post, Anglin began posting articles on the Daily Stormer parroting Sherry Spencer’s allegations against Gersh, calling for a troll storm against her.
Gersh alleges this post by Anglin immediately triggered the deluge of threatening, hateful, and harassing communications Gersh has endured.
Gersh claims on December 16, 2016, Anglin provided phone numbers, email addresses, and links to social media profiles for Gersh, her immediate family members, including her 12-year-old son, friends and colleagues.
Gersh is being represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Anglin doesn’t represent the values of equity and inclusivity that most Montanans displayed when they chose to support the people of Whitefish who were
targeted by this hate. Montanans also value justice, and this suit seeks justice for the Gersh family and people of Whitefish," Montana Human Rights Network co-director Rachel Carroll Rivas said in a statement.
While we are working on the ground to counter hate and inequality, kudos to SPLC for taking it to the courts. The people of Whitefish, Jewish people, human rights supporters and all those targeted by hate deserve justice and peace," added Will Randall, the chairperson of Love Lives Here.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula. Gersh is seeking unspecified damages.