Washington Post - August 10, 2019
A federal judge on Friday awarded more than $700,000 to a former American University student government president who accused the founder of a well-known neo-Nazi website of directing his followers to threaten her with racist online messages.
Taylor Dumpson, the first black woman to serve as student government president at AU, in 2017 sued Andrew Anglin, the founder and editor of the Daily Stormer, for initiating a racist “troll storm” against her that made her fear for her life and disrupted her ability to pursue her education.
Friday’s decision, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, may mark the first time a court has ruled that racist online trolling activity can interfere with one’s equal access to a public accommodation, according to Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which represented Dumpson.
“We think that this essentially opens up a new avenue to attack the dangerous activities of white supremacists in our country,” Clarke said in an interview. “I would expect that other litigators will be able to use the ruling in this case to seek justice on behalf of other victims of hate crimes.”
According to Dumpson’s lawsuit, the barrage of hateful messages began in May 2017, amid news reports that a masked man had hung nooses with bananas inscribed with racist messages near the AU student government offices. The bananas, which were found a day after Dumpson’s inauguration as student government president, included references to her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, whose membership is predominantly African American. ...
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