Lawsuit filed against white supremacist who targeted the Whitefish Jewish Community
This morning the Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit in federal court today against Andrew Anglin, the founder of a neo-Nazi website who orchestrated an anti-Semitic harassment campaign against a local realtor and the community of Whitefish.
This winter Montana was the center of national news after Anglin’s website perpetuated a “troll storm” against local human rights activists and Jewish community members in Whitefish. The community had already been subjected to media attention because white supremacist operatives like Richard Spencer, who has connections to Whitefish.
Spencer is the most well known of the white supremacist “alt-right” movement and even incited a crowd after the election with “Hail Trump” chants and Nazi salutes. Anglin’s site initiated the online troll storm against Jewish people and human rights activists in Whitefish, claiming to support Spencer family.
The threats, intimidation and harassment Anglin’s site used are common anti-democratic tactics of the white supremacist movement. This suit correctly points out that an out-of-state online radical Right-wing activists tried to punish the entire town of Whitefish with his own white supremacist beliefs.
Rachel Carroll Rivas, Co-Director of the Montana Human Rights Network, said, “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.”
Local human rights supporters also lauded the recent update. Will Randall, board chairperson of Love Lives Here and the Network said, “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.”
Randall added that, “We oppose hate and violence in a variety of ways. We do local educational activities like this weekend’s Montana “Life After Hate” speaking tour by former white supremacist Christian Picciolini to change minds and bring awareness. We are glad SPLC is also using the legal system.”
“In our democracy we have a legal system set up to address these types of issues. When radical Right-wing extremists like Andrew Anglin use bully tactics to threaten, intimidate and harass through vigilante actions there should be consequences.” Carroll Rivas said of the suit and their opposition to white supremacist activity.
The Montana Human Rights Network and Love Lives Here stand with all people who are the targets of hate crimes and discrimination because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or other inherent qualities.
Locally in the Flathead, Love Lives Here stands up for equality by connecting people through educational events. Loves Lives Here is part of the Montana Human Rights Network’s efforts to bring former white supremacist Christian Picciolini to Whitefish on April 24. The event will cover Christian’s experience inside a hate group, how he got out, what tactics hate groups use to recruit new members, and what hate groups are active in the Flathead Valley.
The Montana “Life After Hate” tour will also visit Great Falls, Helena, Hamilton and Missoula April 21st-24th. More information can be found at http://www.mhrn.org or http://www.facebook.com/MTHumanRights.