Stormfront, one of the internet’s oldest and most popular white supremacist sites, has been booted off its web address of more than two decades amid a crackdown against hate sites.
The address Stormfront.org went dark on Friday, and publicly available information current lists its domain status as “under hold,” a category reserved for websites under legal dispute or slated for deletion, the USA Today network first reported.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a D.C.-based nonprofit group, said it was behind the effort and had successfully booted the website from its domain of 22 years by raising its concerns with Stormfront’s registrar, Network Solutions LLC, and its parent company, Web.com.
“Their website is a vehicle used to promote racially-motivated violence and hate,” Kristen Clarke, the committee’s executive director, said in a statement. “Following our efforts, Network Solutions has pulled the site. We are working across the country to combat the spread of hate crimes.”
“We will continue to use every tool in our arsenal to disrupt vehicles used to promote and incite racial violence across our country,” Ms. Clarke added. “Especially in the wake of tragic events in Charlottesville and the spike in hate crimes across the country, Stormfront crossed the line of permissible speech and incited and promoted violence.”
Neither the registrar, Web.com nor Stormfront’s administrator, Don Black, immediately returned messages seeking comment Saturday.
Mr. Black, 64, served as a member of both the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party during the 1970s, and afterwards launched Stormfront, the first major hate site on the internet, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The website Stormfront.org was registered on Jan. 11, 1995 and its registration wasn’t slated to expire until early 2018, according to online records.
Mr. Black became active in “the White patriot movement” at the age of 15 while “growing up in the midst of ‘civil rights’ turmoil in Alabama,” according to an old Stormfront post he penned.
“Our mission is to provide information not available in the controlled media and to build a community of White activists working for the survival of our people,” he wrote in another.
Prior to its abrupt disappearance Friday, Stormfront hosted a series of discussion boards utilized by white supremacists and boasted more than 300,000 registered members as of 2015, according to the SPLC.
Stormfront’s disappearance was prefaced earlier this month by a series of actions taken against The Daily Stormer, a website that Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois once described as “the whipped cream on top of the White Nationalist/Neo-Nazi banana split.”
The Daily Stormer’s publisher, Andrew Anglin, wrote on article Aug. 12 mocking a woman killed hours earlier while protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The Stormer was subsequently booted by domain registrars GoDaddy and Google, and attempted to relaunch at more than a half-dozen address this week before relegating itself to the so-called dark web where it’s subject to less restrictions.
“The shutting of Stormfront, via this new technique of domain seizure, sets a new precedent: you don’t have to have made edgy jokes about a fat woman, you don’t have to go viral, you don’t even have to be the least bit culturally relevant. They can now just take you off the internet because you are white,” Mr. Anglin wrote Saturday.
“One thing to take away from this is that we have to stick together.”