Dean Obeidallah Is Awarded $4.1 Million in Lawsuit Against The Daily Stormer

The comedian and writer Dean Obeidallah has been awarded $4.1 million in a lawsuit he filed against The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that published a false article about him in 2017.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Andrew Anglin, the website’s publisher, and his company “acted with actual malice when they published false statements, with knowledge of the falsity of those statements or with reckless disregard for the truth,” according to court documents.

The ruling was about a June 2017 article in The Daily Stormer that claimed Mr. Obeidallah was a terrorist who had masterminded the deadly bombing in Manchester, England, after an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017. Mr. Anglin never appeared in court during the case, according to Mr. Obeidallah, so last week’s judgment came as a default.

In an interview Sunday, Mr. Obeidallah, who is also a SiriusXM radio host and a political commentator, said the article was apparently in response to a column he had written for The Daily Beast about several killings committed by white men who had made racist statements or identified themselves as white supremacists.

“Trump refuses to call these acts what they are: white supremacist terrorism,” Mr. Obeidallah wrote. The column did not mention Mr. Anglin.

The next day, The Daily Stormer published an article by Mr. Anglin that falsely said Mr. Obeidallah had bragged about perpetrating the bombing in Manchester. The article included images of tweets that had been doctored to look like Mr. Obeidallah had written them.

“He’s still tweeting in response to trolls, if you want to go confront him,” Mr. Anglin’s article said.

Some readers of that article threatened Mr. Obeidallah via social media and in the comments under Mr. Anglin’s story. “Dean better pray that he dies of natural causes before we get there,” said one comment, according to court documents.

“It was scary,” Mr. Obeidallah said Sunday. “It really was scary, and I was worried for my friends. I was worried for my co-workers.”

The Daily Stormer has employed similar tactics against various targets including Jews and African-Americans.

Mr. Anglin could not be reached Sunday, and it was unclear whether he had a lawyer representing him.

Mr. Obeidallah first landed on The Daily Stormer’s radar after he wrote a column for The Daily Beast in 2015, when Donald J. Trump was a candidate in the Republican presidential primary. It called on the Republican Party to denounce white nationalist individuals and organizations who were supporting Mr. Trump, including The Daily Stormer.

Mr. Obeidallah, a Muslim who discusses his faith in his comedy, said that although Mr. Anglin’s whereabouts was unknown, he planned to pursue his assets in the United States.

“We want to collect some money because that’s a more powerful message than just a judgment on paper,” Mr. Obeidallah said. “We’re going to give it to organizations that fight white supremacy, run by the very people these guys hate, like Muslims, African-Americans, Jewish Americans and the L.G.B.T.Q. community.”

Subodh Chandra, a lawyer for Mr. Obeidallah, said he believed it could be possible to secure funds from bank and Bitcoin accounts belonging to Mr. Anglin, possibly including money that Mr. Anglin’s supporters had donated to help him fight the lawsuit.

“It is immensely satisfying to secure judgment against people who promulgate hate and try to subvert Mr. Obeidallah’s life mission, which is to ensure that people see one another as people,” Mr. Chandra said. “What the Nazis tried to do was to undermine his very life’s mission. And they didn’t win, and they never will, because we still live under the rule of law in this country no matter how hard they might try to undermine the rule of law.”

Mr. Anglin, who created The Daily Stormer in 2013, has been a key figure in stoking white nationalist sentiment in the United States. His website became a major platform for neo-Nazi news and commentary, and he has used it to target people he considered enemies and to champion a modern holocaust that would create an American white ethno-state.

The Daily Stormer has faced several lawsuits.

Mr. Obeidallah filed his in August 2017, alleging libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeking compensatory damages. He said it was important to fight back against harassment, especially since he believed that Mr. Anglin and other white supremacists felt emboldened by the election of Mr. Trump.

Taylor Dumpson, the first black woman to serve as student government president at American University in Washington, filed a lawsuit last year after she became an online target following a real-life incident: nooses and hateful messages were left on campus a day after her inauguration.

Another lawsuit, filed in 2017, claimed that Mr. Anglin used his website to inflict emotional distress on Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent in Montana, because of her interactions with Sherry Spencer, the mother of the white supremacist leader Richard Spencer.

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