It’s not an easy time to be a Nazi online.
Stormfront, one of the internet’s most infamous Neo-Nazi websites which once boasted 300,000 members, is in serious financial trouble. On Tuesday, its founder, Don Black, a former Klansman, announced that contributions to the site had totaled less than $2,000 in recent months, and that it would have to restrict access to those who contribute to the site’s upkeep in order to survive.
“Our contributions have once again totaled less than $2000,which is not enough to cover our basic server and radio bills” Black wrote in a post to Stormfront members. “This month we no longer have enough personal money to make up the difference.”
Founded in 1995, Stormfront has been a consistently popular online gathering spot for white nationalists, Holocaust deniers, and embittered racists. While the site’s crude design may look out of place on today’s web, it has also been linked extensively to white nationalist violence. A 2014 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tied Stormfront to dozens of murders, including Richard Popwlaski, who in 2009 murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
But while Stormfront may have been one of the first neo-Nazi forums, it has been supplanted in popularity by Andrew Anglin’s Daily Stormer. Anglin, a vicious troll and avowed Nazi, has bounced the Daily Stormer from domain to domain in an effort to keep it online over the past year, allowing him to continue publishing content, relatively unabated.
Anglin is currently in hiding to avoid being served for two lawsuits: the SPLC is suing Anglin for claiming he inflicted emotional distress on Jewish real estate agent Tanya Gersh, while radio host Dean Obeidallah is suing Anglin for defamation. Anglin has been ducking lawyers for months now, claiming he was in Nigeria and then Cambodia, although process servers have been focusing on and around Columbus, Ohio. Despite having to lay low, Anglin has still managed to post regularly on the social network Gab — a favorite platform of white supremacists.
A new court tactic might make it harder for Anglin to keep the Daily Stormer alive, however. In a filing on Tuesday, reported by the Daily Beast, Obeidallah asked a judge for discovery process against the shell company that The Daily Stormer uses to get its funding, Moonbase Holdings, LLC. Anglin used Moonbase Holdings as a way for Stormer supporters to give money to his white nationalist media operation in a way that looks innocuous on bank statements.
“At one point it appeared that Defendant Moonbase received approximately $3,405.70 per month in credit card donations through Hatreon,” the new filing read, referring to a funding site used by white supremacists.
If Obeidallah can expose where Stormer’s money is coming from, it may expose what assets (if any) it has and its relationship with financial institutions.
The ability of white nationalists to use fundraising sites has had a major effect on their ability to run an effective movement. This was most clearly demonstrated in February, when white supremacist Richard Spencer issued a desperate plea to fellow white nationalists to help him raise funds via MakerSupport, after other payment systems booted him from their platforms.
“One of the other fundamental reasons why we’re on MakerSupport is that this is all we’ve got,” Spencer said at the time. “We have been de-platformed from all major payment systems and other payment platforms. We can’t use them.”