White supremacists are taking President Donald Trump's words (or his lack thereof) as a sign that their racism might just stand a chance.
UPDATE: According to Reuters, the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer has moved to internet underground, commonly referred to as the "dark web." This comes after Google and GoDaddy's decision to cancel the domain registration, forcing founder Andrew Anglin to regroup.
Supporters of the site reportedly spread the word of the location change via Twitter, and Anglin has stated that the new location will be a permanent part of the site's infrastructure so that it will remain accessible in case of future shutdowns. He's also promised to return in force.
“The Daily Stormer will be live in internet prison with drug dealers, terrorists and perverts, which is where we’ve been exiled to, for all time,” he said in a statement sent to VICE News. “We should have a real domain online within 24 hours. If it gets shut down again, people will know we are on the black web.”
Americans decried President Donald Trump's refusal to explicitly condemn the white nationalist rally and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday for fear that it would be interpreted as a green light for racists.
While Trump has since clarified his stance and denounced far right groups, fascist site the Daily Stormer took the president's initial lack of condemnation as paramount to endorsement, with founder Andrew Anglin even stating, "He said he loves us all."
“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us,” Angin wrote. “He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate... on both sides!”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anglin is "infamous for the crudity of his language and his thinking, a contrast to his sophistication as a prolific Internet troll and serial harasser."
He's dedicated himself to spreading the worst of humanity and has been the organizer of vicious campaigns against those who do not fit into his narrow-minded idea of the American dream. The Daily Stormer is full of positive references to Trump and his perceived strength. When Trump does not unequivocally denounce the far right, it looks like the president is just one of them.
It took immense public pressure for Trump to finally say the words "white supremacists" and "neo-Nazis," yet others quickly spoke out against the rally — making the president's delay all the more jarring.
While Trump gave "all sides" a finger wag, domain registrar GoDaddy has informed Anglin that he has 24 hours to change the provider for the Daily Stormer before they cancel his service. According to Tech Crunch, the crackdown came after the founder of the New Agenda, a nonprofit serving women and girls through advocating progressive change, called on the company to act after the site posted a reprehensible article about Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed when James Alex Fields mowed his car into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters on Saturday.
Tech giant Google has also announced that it will cancel the Daily Stormer's domain, a huge blow to Anglin, who will now have to resort to darker corners of the internet if he wants to keep his site alive.
"We are cancelling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service," a Google spokesperson said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News.
This is a step in the right direction, but it reportedly only comes after months of criticism and advocates pleading with GoDaddy to take a stand against the racists using their services to spread hate. As technology is the necessary undercurrent to much of society today, tech companies will need to play a larger role in curtailing hate speech and its violent consequences so the likelihood of an event like Charlottesville happening again diminishes.
Airbnb deactivated the accounts of white supremacists it discovered looking for accommodation near Charlottesville, and Jeff Lawson, CEO of cloud communications platform Twilio, announced on Twitter that they are amending their policy so that the language specifies their opposition to hate speech. He said he urges other companies to do the same.
When the president is silent in the face of bigotry, white supremacists take it is as a sign that he is nodding in their direction, and that risks dangerously empowering the movement. Trump continues to drag his feet when acting against hate, so it becomes the responsibility of citizens to step in and respond with greater unity.
There is no space for a homogeneous America in the American dream, and if Trump doesn't see that, there should be no space for him in the White House.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters photographer Joshua Roberts