The FBI is reportedly reviewing the spate of harassing emails and tweets that have slammed residents of the small town of Whitefish, Mont., after the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer put out a cyberhit on several members of the Jewish community there last week.
The call to “take action” against Jews in the small ski resort town was issued after Whitefish resident and property owner Sherry Spencer, mother of prominent white nationalist figure Richard Spencer, told the
Last week, the story was picked up by the Daily Mail, drawing the attention of neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin among others.
The post, which is filled with anti-Semitic and sexist language, lists the names and contact information for people either mentioned in the Daily Mail story or associated with Love Lives Here — which Anglin falsely calls a “Jew terrorist group” — as well as members of their families. He also posted photos of some of them, along with a gold Star of David, the symbol of Judaism the Nazis forced Jews to wear as a badge of identification and of stigma.
After publishing the phone numbers, emails, Twitter handles and even home and work addresses of people in the group — whom he described as part of “a vicious, evil race of hate-filled psychopaths” — Anglin warned against any violent actions or threats of violence.
“Just make your opinions known,” he wrote. “Tell them you are sickened by their Jew agenda to attack and harm the mother of someone whom they disagree with.”
The local ABC News affiliate, KFBB,
Calls from Yahoo News to the Whitefish Police Department and the FBI office for comment on this story were not returned.
Those named in the Daily Stormer post were also reluctant to speak, with some citing concerns for the safety of their family. But a review of some of their recent Twitter mentions offers a sense of the kinds of messages being received.
Tanya Gersh, the realtor who, according to Sherry Spencer, urged her to sell her building in downtown Whitefish and donate the proceeds — or risk drawing hundreds of protesters and national media attention — received a flood of hate-filled and angry tweets. Told to “move back to Israel” by
Nasty tweets also were directed at Gersh’s minor son, whose Twitter account appears to have recently been deactivated. And Ina Albert, the Jewish 81-year-old co-founder of Love Lives Here, came in for a particularly vicious anti-Semitic online backlash. “Filthy Jews! Get out of America!”
Though police have said they’re not aware of any in-person threats, the Daily Stormer “troll storm” appears to have moved beyond those listed in the original post, targeting several local businesses with a flood of negative Google reviews — many of which seek to tie the owners to Love Lives Here.
The flood of invective is the latest controversy straining this tiny ski resort town as a result of the growing public profile of one of its part-time residents: Richard Spencer, head of the white nationalist think tank National Policy Institute and founder of the so-called “alt-right” movement.
At the time, Spencer was a little-known figure on the political fringe. But in recent months, he’s become widely recognized as the face of a resurgent white nationalist political movement bolstered by the successful presidential campaign of Donald Trump. A video of Spencer’s keynote speech at the annual
Muhfeld did not respond to a request for comment, but Montana Sen. Steve Daines has condemned the Daily Stormer’s call to action against Jews in Whitefish,
Spencer appears to be
“I strongly urge that everyone stays within the bounds of respectful, civilized discussion of this matter by refraining from abusive comments or targeted harassment of any of the parties involved, or their families,” Sherry Spencer wrote over the weekend, in an addendum to an
Over the weekend, Sherry and husband Rand penned an
“We are not racists. We have never been racists. We do not endorse the idea of white nationalism,” they wrote, adding that “as parents we love our son” but “we are not accustomed to the spotlight. Furthermore, we feel we we are not part of the story, nor do we wish to be a part of the story, as our son is a grown man.”
Unfortunately for the Spencers — and their neighbors — their son’s growing political platform may make it difficult for them to escape the spotlight anytime soon. This week,