Neo-Nazi website faces federal lawsuit over defamation

An Ohio-based neo-Nazi website and its founder are facing a federal lawsuit filed by Dean Obeidallah, a comedian and political commentator who says he was defamed by an article in The Daily Stormer that falsely accused him of being a terrorist.

In his lawsuit, Obeidallah alleges that The Daily Stormer and its founder Andrew Anglin, published a story June 1 that portrays Obeidallah as the mastermind behind the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22 that killed 23 and injured 250 people. The Daily Stormer fabricated tweets to look like they were sent by Obeidallah, the lawsuit claims.

“Mr. Obeidallah is not a terrorist, has no terrorist affiliation, and, contrary to defendants’ fabricated Twitter message, has never claimed responsibility for any terrorist act,” the lawsuit said.

Obeidallah, who tried unsuccessfully to get The Daily Stormer to remove the article and its comments, said the website has damaged his reputation and subjected him to death threats.

Obeidallah, who is represented by Cleveland area civil rights attorney Subodh Chandra, filed his suit in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio.

The Daily Stormer lost its internet host when GoDaddy and Google both gave it the boot following an article that attacked Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman mowed down and killed in Charlottesville. The site moved to a Russian domain and posted a story under the headline: “A Tale of True Friendship: Trump called Putin to get us a new domain!”

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Obeidallah is an American Muslim who lives in New York and writes political-opinion pieces for news outlets including CNN and The Daily Beast.

The Daily Stormer gets more web traffic — roughly 3.2 million visitors per month — than some mainstream media sites such as C-SPAN and Roll Call.

It was founded by Anglin, who graduated in 2003 from Worthington Kilbourne High School. Donations to his website had been accepted at his father’s business address in Worthington but once protesters staged pickets, the site started using a Worthington post office box. The Daily Stormer, Moonbased Holdings LLC and Andrew Anglin are registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Obeidallah’s attorneys said it is unclear where Anglin lives now.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., that left 32-year-old Heather Heyer and two police officers dead.

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Obeidallah said the suit is about his reputation but may also help push back on hate.

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