- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A federal judge awarded $1.4 million Wednesday to Dean Obeidallah, a Muslim-American radio host and comedian who successfully sued The Daily Stormer website for libel over an article that falsely claimed he was the mastermind of a 2017 terrorist attack.

“American Muslims should be able to take part in public life without being threatened or attacked,” Mr. Obeidallah, 49, said in a statement. “This ruling sends a clear message that Muslim voices will not be silenced by threats and hate.”

The host of a program on SiriusXM, Mr. Obeidallah was the subject of a June 2017 article that said he had admitted planning a bombing weeks earlier killed several people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. He asked the website to remove the article and sued for libel when it refused.

Andrew Anglin, The Daily Stormer’s founder and publisher, did not immediately return messages seeking comment. A native of Ohio, he claims to have fled the country and has avoided appearing in court for this case and others, resulting in U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. to enter a default judgment last month against Mr. Anglin and his company, Moonbase Holdings.

Mr. Anglin, 34, launched The Daily Stormer in 2013 and touts it as “the most censored publication in history.” Known for boosting blatantly racist and anti-Semitic points of view, the site gained notoriety in August 2017 after Mr. Anglin penned an article that mercilessly mocked Heather Heyer, a Virginia woman who was killed while protesting against the “Unite the Right” rally organized in Charlottesville by white nationalists and advertised beforehand on websites including his own.

Published hours after Heyer was killed when a “Unite the Right” participant drove his car into a crowd of protesters, the crude article prompted an unprecedented backlash that resulted in The Daily Stormer being banned by internet services operated by major tech companies including GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare, among others.

Mr. Anglin had weeks earlier written the article that triggered the libel suit filed in federal court, titled “Dean Obeidallah, Mastermind Behind Manchester Bombing, Calls on Trump to Declare Whites the Real Terrorists.” Published days after more than 20 people were killed at the pop concert, the article referenced several fictitious social media posts purported to have been made in the interim by Mr. Obeidallah on Twitter, including several in which he supposedly claimed responsibility.

“All glory to Allah most merciful for the events in Manchester, which I planned,” said one of the bogus tweets displayed in the article. “I’ll be on @CNNTonight,” said another, “discussing how I masterminded the Manchester bombing. Hope u tune in.”

Mr. Obeidallah endured threats and suffered emotional distresses and damages to his reputation as a result of the article, according to Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group that represented him in the suit filed in Columbus federal court.

“The uncontroverted evidence shows that the Daily Stormer knowingly published false smears based on fabricated evidence,” said Juvaria Khan, a senior staff attorney for the group, “That is not free speech—that is a dangerous, reckless disregard for the truth,” she said in a statement.

Judge Sargus, a Clinton appointee, also awarded a permanent injunction requiring The Daily Stormer to remove the defamatory article, Muslim Advocates said in a press release announcing the ruling. It remained online as of early Wednesday evening.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide