A reclusive neo-Nazi who co-runs the white supremacist Daily Stormer website, and recently said Jewish children "deserve to die," has Jewish relatives on “both sides of his family,” his mother told Newsweek.
Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, who handles the technical side of Stormer alongside editor Andrew Anglin, said on a podcast last month that Jews were to blame for the website's loss of its dot com address after a white man allegedly killed peaceful protester Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. Subsequently, the site has been forced to jump around the internet.
"Someone has to step in," Auernheimer, 32, said on the podcast Radical Agenda, hosted by Christopher Cantwell, one of the white nationalists who attended the deadly Charlottesville rally. “If you don’t let us dissent peacefully, then our only option is to murder you. To kill your children. To kill your whole families. There is only one thing absent free speech that we can do to express our dissent and that’s to slaughter you like dogs, and you’re gonna have it coming and your children will deserve to die.”
The audio was published on both Cantwell’s website and the Daily Stormer, which primarily posts Jewish conspiracy theories and memes celebrating physical violence against Jews, women and people of color. It has lost over a dozen domains following Charlottesville, but Auernheimer and Anglin have benefitted financially from peddling hate speech to the tune of thousands of dollars per month, which comes from anonymous online donations.
It’s unclear how much traffic the neo-Nazi hub has lost since being dropped from its original URL, partly because it keeps moving from place to place. Rights groups and other observers believe that the site's traffic has taken a significant hit by being dropped, which would at least partly explain Auernheimer's frustration.
Cantwell is currently under house arrest in Virginia on two felony charges for allegedly using tear gas and pepper spray at the Charlottesville rally. Auernheimer’s call to slaughter Jewish children appeared to make the host nervous because he interjected that killing Jews “is certainly an undesirable option I’ll state for the FBI agents and prosecutors who are listening to this show.”
But Auernheimer continued to rant about Jews, suggesting that attempts to censor his hate speech business should be punished with murder.
“We have been very, very patient,” he said. “What can we do if we can’t even post a n----r joke or a Jewish joke on the Internet? There’s only one thing left and maybe they should be very, very wary of what they’re asking to have happen to them, if they won’t let us have that.”
Auernheimer narrowed in on specific targets later by saying that retribution should focus on, “The top class [of Jews]. The most Jewish Jews.”
“Nobody has gone after these kinds of Jews,” he added.
Newsweek has been unsuccessful in contacting Auernheimer, who is allegedly living in Ukraine after serving jail time over a computer-hacking incident. Auernheimer’s Jewish heritage was first reported by Gawker in 2012, though Auernheimer denied the report. Adrian Chen, the author of the story, told Newsweek that the infamous troll volunteered the information about his Jewish ancestry during an interview.
And his mother has confirmed it. Alyse Auernheimer told Newsweek that she was saddened that her son had wished death on children. She added that she has been estranged from him for over a decade.
“He doesn’t like us,” she said, adding that her son comes from a “large, mixed-race family” with Native American heritage, and that he most certainly has Jewish lineage “on both sides of his family.”
No one knows if Auernheimer's listeners will turn his aggressive talk into violence, but Daily Stormer readers—allegedly including Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston in 2015 and William Edward Atchison, who killed two students at his high school last year—have gone on to commit horrendous acts.
Still, Auernheimer’s “repulsive and hateful" words are likely protected speech because they may not present a “clear and present danger,” said Sahar Aziz, a law professor at Rutgers University.
“The language is couched in conditional terms, perhaps purposely so,” Aziz said. “Auernheimer’s calls to kill Jews is conditioned on whether he and his followers can express dissent.”
In September, Auernheimer’s extreme rhetoric caused him to be one of the few accounts ever banned from Gab, a social network that markets itself as being pro free speech. He issued a post that said that Jews have “cornered the whole Internet” and added that someone should teach them “a lesson.” He referenced Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people and injured over 600 more in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
Newsweek reached out to the FBI regarding Auernheimer’s apparent call for murder, but the agency declined to comment.
Auernheimer’s Jewish heritage will likely hurt him in some white nationalist circles if it becomes more widely known. To protect him, The Goyim Know, a separate website that functions as a comment section for Daily Stormer, has threatened people who accuse Anglin or Auernheimer of having Jewish lineage with a “permanent ban,” according to the site's rules. It’s something that cuts in contrast to Daily Stormer’s stated emphasis on being a pro–free speech outlet.
White nationalists have been discussing the rumors about Auernheimer—which may not end well for his credibility in the movement.
“Jews cannot be part of the white nationalist movement, just as a white man can’t be a part of a black-nationalist group like the Nation of Islam,” Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist group that attended the rally in Charlottesville, told Newsweek. Any discussion of Auernheimer’s family being Jewish on both sides would be “something interesting to a lot of people,” he added.
Cantwell, who hosted the podcast, defended Auernheimer’s language and told Newsweek that the revelation of his friend's family heritage conflicted with what he had been previously told.
“If that’s true, he wouldn’t be the first self-hating Jew,” Cantwell said.