This story will likely be familiar to anyone who has followed the bizarre saga of Andrew Anglin, an obsessively anti-Semitic blogger whose clownish, millennial-targeted neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, has bounced across roughly nine different Internet hosts, in the wake of a post he wrote mocking the death of activist Heather Heyer. She is the woman who was killed after accused suspect James Fields rammed his car into a crowd of protesters, according to authorities, at the white nationalist “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
Greg Morelli, the co-owner of a Jewish deli in Highland Park, Illinois, made an inflammatory comment on Twitter about the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas this past Sunday night, suggesting that he felt “relief” to hear that shooter Stephen Paddock targeted white country music fans. “White people shooting white people isn’t terror,” he quipped.
Fox News and other conservative outlets, like Breitbart.com, covered the post, and those who were offended by it, in turn, unleashed a steady flow of outrage on social media—and on the Google reviews for Morelli’s place of business.
But that backlash apparently did not satiate Anglin, who has now jumped into the fray, calling for readers of his highly trafficked website to target Morelli on the grounds of him being Jewish.
“TAKE ACTION: Another Jew Celebrating Vegas Deaths – Let’s Tell Him What We Think of This!,” the subject line of Anglin’s post declares, before going on to list the phone number and address of Morelli's establishment. “I am in the process of getting some of the Illinois goys to arrange a protest outside of this kike’s deli. It looks like there’s plenty of sidewalk and parking lot space,” Anglin writes. “Tell this filthy fucking Jew that the goyim know.” (Goyim is an Old Testament word connoting non-Jews that has been appropriated by white supremacists and other anti-Semites as a way to underscore what they perceive to be persecution of whites by Jewish people.)
The post follows a familiar pattern for Anglin. In April, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a lawsuit against him for allegedly orchestrating a coordinated campaign of anti-Semitic harassment against Tanya Gersh, a real estate agent in Whitefish, Montana, whom he accused of attempting to extort money from white nationalist Richard Spencer. Anglin’s post specifies to his readers “no violence, threats,” but adds that comments be tailored specifically to Morelli’s faith. “Let this filthy rat kike know what you think of him,” he writes.
Newsweek reached out to the Highland Park Police Department regarding the post, and a spokesman said they were aware of the backlash against Morelli and were conducting patrols in the area of his business. Newsweek was unable to reach Morelli for comment about Anglin’s post, and the phone lines at his establishment were not working as of Thursday afternoon. He had already issued an apology for what he wrote about the shooting, prior to Anglin’s call to “take action.”
Newsweek also made two attempts to reach Anglin for comment about his post about Morelli but did not immediately receive a response. In addition to the post on his site, Anglin called for action in response to Morelli’s post on the social media site Gab, which features a number of white supremacist users.
In a recent appearance on a white supremacist podcast, Anglin boasted that his post about Heyer, in which he called the deceased woman a “fat, childless, 32-year-old slut,” received 3.5 million hits, before GoDaddy ultimately booted him off of its domain registry. That indicates how many people might respond to a post of his calling for harassment of person based upon faith.
The game of embedding sophomorically racist memes, and whipping up cloddishly written posts based on bogus race science and white pride, has been impressively lucrative for Anglin, despite the number of times his site has been shut down on servers throughout the world. He currently receives close to $8,000 per month in donations through a website called Hatreon, which allows users to donate to white nationalist causes, and frequently reaches out to his readers asking for handouts to support his blogging career.
Anglin has gone into hiding following the incident in Whitefish, creating a problem for the SPLC, which has still not been able to serve him the lawsuit in person. He has attempted to re-brand the “alt-right” in the fallout after the events in Charlottesville, preferring to call himself an “American Nationalist.” That apes a phrase used by fellow alt-right personality Mike Cernovich, who used those words to describe his politics in an interview with The New Yorker in October 2016. The SPLC simply refers to Anglin as a neo-Nazi.
Richard Cohen, the SPLC’s president, spoke to Newsweek about Anglin’s post on Thursday. Regarding the likelihood that Morelli will be targeted with anti-Semitic abuse in the aftermath of Anglin’s post, he says that Anglin “knows what his troll army is going to do.” Cohen adds that “mobilizing people to scream anti-Semitic epithets” is not protected by the First Amendment.
“We’ll find him,” Cohen says of the pending lawsuit over Gersh, his client. “He can run, but he can’t hide.”