Controversial neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer is having trouble finding a home online.
After being kicked off GoDaddy’s domain name registration service on Sunday, the white supremacist site moved to Google, despite The Daily Stormer’s recent spate of attacks on the tech company. A few hours later, Google announced it was kicking the site off as well.
Founded in 2013 by Andrew Anglin, The Daily Stormer is one of the most popular and influential sites in the online white supremacist ecosystem. Since the site’s inception, it has used GoDaddy as its domain name registrar.
Websites are identified by their IP addresses, 126.96.36.199, for example. Domain name registration services connect those IP addresses with URLs – like www.revealnews.org – which are considerably easier for human beings to remember.
Whereas other tech companies, such as PayPal, have refused to offer services to The Daily Stormer, GoDaddy had long resisted calls from groups like the Anti-Defamation League to cut ties with the site. However, when The Daily Stormer published an article mocking Heather Heyer, the woman killed when a white supremacist drove an automobile through a crowd of counterprotesters at the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, GoDaddy’s position shifted.
The article, titled, “Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut” attacked Heyer viciously and celebrated James Fields, her alleged killer.
On Sunday, GoDaddy announced in a tweet that the company had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours’ notice to move the domain to another provider.
“Given The Daily Stormer’s article yesterday came on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service,” GoDaddy spokesman Dan Race said in a statement.
The site soon found a replacement: a domain name registration service offered by Google. Yet The Daily Stormer’s new home was short-lived.
A statement Google sent to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting on Monday morning indicated the company is “cancelling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service.”
Google did not respond to a question about precisely when the termination of the Daily Stormer’s DNS service will take effect. At the time of publication, the site is still active at www.dailystormer.com and ICANN’s WHOIS lookup still lists Google as its registrar.
The Daily Stormer has published stories in recent days pillorying the Silicon Valley tech giant for firing engineer James Damore, who penned a controversial memo slamming Google’s pro-diversity hiring and training policies. Damore, who was fired shortly after the memo was leaked to the public, has quickly become a cause célèbre on the alt-right.
The white supremacist crowdfunding site WeSearchr raised over $46,000 to “help James get back on his feet and see if he can fight Google.”
Neither GoDaddy nor Google provided web hosting services for The Daily Stormer, which is where a company holds the data that comprises the website on its server. The host of The Daily Stormer is obscured using a service offered by the San Francisco-based web security firm Cloudflare.
In May, ProPublica reporter Ken Schwencke discovered that not only was Cloudflare supporting The Daily Stormer, but the company was providing personal information about people who complained to them about The Daily Stormer to Anglin, who then targeted those people for harassment campaigns.
“Cloudflare is aware of the concerns that have been raised over some sites that have used our network,” a company spokeswoman wrote in a statement on Monday, which did not refer to The Daily Stormer by name or indicate any specific change in policy. “We find the content on some of these sites repugnant. While our policy is to not comment on any user specifically, we are cooperating with law enforcement in any investigation.”
Anglin did not respond to a request for comment about being cut off by both Google and GoDaddy; however, when Reveal reached out to Anglin about controversy surrounding domain name registration issues earlier this year, he responded with an accusatory email invective.
“The way institutions ostensibly devoted to journalistic integrity are wholly obsessed with shutting down independent journalists engaging in Constitutionally protected speech by any means necessary is incredibly similar to the way children’s aid organizations are constantly caught in child sex trafficking scandals,” Anglin wrote.
“And you’re not even Jewish,” he added, “are you?”
Bouncing around among different registrars is not the only drama affecting The Daily Stormer this week.
On Monday, a post appeared on The Daily Stormer with the headline “END OF HATE: ANONYMOUS NOW IN CONTROL OF DAILY STORMER.” The post, written in all caps, asserts that the site was hacked by members of loose online hacker collective Anonymous, which will soon release private data contained on the site servers, including information about Anglin’s current location.
A few hours later, Anglin wrote in a fresh post that he had regained control of the site. He then went on to post about the augmented-reality smartphone game “Pokemon Go” adding a new character.
The line in the supposedly hacked post about Anglin’s location refers to a key question in a court case currently being pursued against him. In April, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit against Anglin for facilitating a coordinated mass harassment campaign against the family of Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent living in Whitefish, Montana.
Throughout the course of the suit, Anglin has declined to show up in court or participate in any way. In an interview with CNN, Anglin said he had left the country for Lagos, Nigeria. He later expanded on his time in Lagos in a post titled, “Nigerians Love Neo-Nazi White Supremacist Andrew Anglin.”
An investigation by Reveal showed that Anglin falsified information in his post that supposedly proved he was living in Nigeria. His current whereabouts are unknown, slowing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attempt to get justice for the Gersh family.
“There’s irony in him being a big scary bully who is willing to take on anyone so long as he’s hiding behind his keyboard,” David Dinielli, the SPLC attorney representing Gersh in her lawsuit against Anglin, told Reveal earlier this year. “Now he actually has the opportunity finally to come and defend himself and wrap himself in the First Amendment, and yet he doesn’t have the guts to do so.”
If the suit is successful, Anglin’s assets could be seized by the court, which has the potential to shut down his website for good.