The founder of a white-supremacist website who elicited widespread condemnation for his viral blog post mocking a woman’s death at Saturday’s white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville says he’s received death threats since suggesting 32-year-old Heather Heyer was a “drain on society” because she was unmarried and childless.
“You should see the hatred in my email box,” Andrew Anglin, who operates the Daily Stormer, told The Washington Post in an email Monday. “… I’ll tell you, there is a lot more hatred on their side than ours.”
He later added: “I’m not feeling hate. I’m feeling amused.”
The Daily Stormer espouses a variety of extreme and sometimes conflicting ideologies, including neo-Nazism and the racist belief that America’s growing pluralism has left whites disadvantaged and oppressed. “Their side” is an apparent reference to anti-fascist protesters who clashed with white supremacists throughout the day, a violent riot that turned deadly when a car, driven by 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio, according to police, plowed into a group of people demonstrating along a crowded, narrow street.
Anglin’s blog post was published Sunday after law enforcement officials in Charlottesville identified Heyer as the lone fatality. At least 19 others were injured. In one of the Trump administration’s sharpest rebukes of those responsible for inciting such violence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared the incident “domestic terrorism.”
In his email to The Post, Anglin disputed authorities’ conclusions, suggesting instead that Heyer may have suffered a heart attack at the scene. He twice referred to his blog post as a joke, and complained that politicians, the media and others have described the incident as terrorism. “Fake news,” Anglin called that characterization. It was just a case of road rage, he said, not an attack on the alt-right’s political enemies.
The violence has inflamed a long-simmering debate over race relations in the United States while raising troubling questions about President Trump’s initial refusal to disavow the hate groups who descended on Charlottesville for their “Unite the Right” demonstration.
Facing withering pressure from throughout the political spectrum, Trump finally did so Monday, declaring the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups “repugnant” and pledging to hold anyone accountable who may have committed crimes.
The Post contacted Anglin through an email address listed on his website. His response alleged that “large numbers of people say they’re planning to murder me” in retaliation for his missive maligning Heyer. He offered no apology, but instead doubled down in his view that, “Women who don’t have children are abandoning their natural duty and breaking the social contract, and they should be ostracized for it.”
Anglin did not provide evidence of any alleged threats, and he did not respond to follow-up questions.
On his website, which was subsequently delisted by the Web-hosting service GoDaddy, Anglin wrote profusely about his prediction that “Jews, Blacks and lesbians will be leaving America if Trump gets elected.” He has called the Holocaust a hoax, extolled Adolf Hitler and last year described Trump as “the ultimate savior” when the Republican presidential candidate indicated he would restrict immigration from majority-Muslim countries.
It’s unclear where Anglin is located, though a donation page on his site lists a post office box in Worthington, Ohio, where he attended high school. The Southern Poverty Law Center has assembled a comprehensive case study on Anglin, and suspects he may be living overseas, either in Africa, Eastern Europe or the Philippines.
The 33-year-old is considered a “skilled propagandist” who in his missives for Daily Stormer has taken credit for having encouraged hundreds of thousands of like-minded white nationalists to deliver Trump’s election victory in November, said Keegan Hankes, an analyst with the SPLC.
Through his writing ahead of the Charlottesville rally, Anglin also helped cultivate interest in the event and inspire the large crowds of white supremacists and white nationalists that appeared, Hankes said.
“The biggest thing to recognize about Andrew Anglin,” he added, “is that even though Daily Stormer is just a website, it has a tremendous impact in the real world.”
The advocacy group filed a lawsuit earlier this year accusing him of directing a cyber-mayhem campaign targeting a Jewish family in Montana. David Dinielli, the organization’s deputy legal director, told The Post that Anglin commands a “troll army” that specializes in intimidating people via social media primarily.
“The most vile threats one can imagine,” Dinielli added. “Emails, texts, Facebook messages.” The family was sent images of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. They received phone calls that included only the sound of guns being fired.
“This is not bullying,” he said. “This is terrorism.”
Anglin appears to have moved his site to the dark Web, a term that describes domains not catalogued by search engines. The dark Web has become a destination for those engaging in all manner of illicit activity.
After Anglin’s blog post disparaging Heyer went viral, GoDaddy indicated it had informed Anglin to take his business elsewhere. In a tweet Sunday night, the company said such content violates its terms of service.
“GoDaddy does not condone content that advocates expressions of hate, racism, bigotry,” a spokesman, Dan Race, told The Post in a prepared statement. “However, we generally do not take action on complaints that would constitute censorship of content and that represents the exercise of freedom of speech and expression on the Internet.
It continues: “In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in violence against any person, we will take action. In our determination, especially given the tragic events in Charlottesville, Dailystormer.com crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence.”
It’s unclear why GoDaddy tolerated Daily Stormer’s content previously. The company did not respond to questions seeking to understand that.
It appears Anglin had sought — unsuccessfully — to move his site to Google’s hosting service Monday.
In his email to The Post, Anglin indicated he was working with an unidentified agent in Mongolia to “reset my server so I can restore from backups.” The site is hosted there, he said, “because we’ve been kicked off of so many hosts.”
Speaking to reporters Monday at the White House, Trump denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as he sought to quell growing criticism about his response to the violence in Charlottesville and Heyer’s death. The Justice Department has begun a civil rights investigation into the incident, and Trump has discussed the matter with Sessions and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.
Trump’s initial response to the bedlam in Charlottesville, in which he castigated the hatred exhibited on “many sides,” resonated with Anglin, he said in his email. But he also indicated that he recognized the president had come under intensifying scrutiny to condemn the white nationalists who helped get him elected.
“I don’t really expect him to hold the line on this one,” he said. “There’s too much pressure on him.”
Elizabeth Dwoskin in Silicon Valley contributed to this report.