Punish Writer for Inciting Racist Smear Campaign Against Black Student

Target: Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Goal: Sue the publisher responsible for instigating a social media “troll storm” against African American student leader.

After becoming American University’s first black female student government president in 2017, Taylor Dumpson became the target of racial abuse both on campus and on the Internet. She wasn’t even in office for three days before bananas wrapped in nooses were anonymously hung around campus. Some of them read “Harambe Bait” (referring to the slain gorilla) and “AKA Free” (a blow to the historically black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority to which Dumpson belonged). Soon after came a frenzy of online harassment on behalf of Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin. Originally, he mocked the banana incident, which served as fodder for readers to bombard Dumpson with racist and threatening messages.

Eventually fearing for her physical safety, Dumpson resigned in January, 2017. Since then she has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite the adversity, the Maryland native has filed a federal lawsuit against Anglin with assistance from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. According to them, Anglin stands accused of deliberately inciting emotional distress towards Dumpson, which in the end compromised her equal opportunity to receive an education at the D.C. institution. Since Anglin and supporters believe their spiteful rhetoric is protected by the First Amendment, we need legal experts to show that hate speech should never be interpreted as hyperbole. Sign the petition below to urge them to pursue this injustice.


Dear Ms. Clarke,

Not long ago, the former student government president at American University, Taylor Dumpson, stepped down over fears regarding her physical safety. Being the school’s first black student leader, her legacy was tarnished after falling prey to Andrew Anglin at the Daily Stormer. As you’re well aware, this website attracts white supremacists and neo-Nazis searching for easy targets. For the sake of inflicting emotional and potentially physical distress, Anglin is notorious for using his craft to mobilize his followers into “trolling” racial and religious minorities. Why else did he encourage readers to accost Dumpson after including her social media screen names? From many angles, his actions appear to be conscious choices to emotionally burden Dumpson and interfere with her education, and conspiracy to commit stalking.

Considering that this is Anglin’s third high-profile lawsuit, he must learn that hate speech isn’t free speech, especially if it instills fear and anxiety over one’s own safety. This was the case for Dumpson, who received an array of threatening messages that resulted in a post-traumatic stress diagnosis and her untimely resignation. Based on your organization’s legal expertise, let’s hope you prevail in bringing justice to Dumpson. It’s apparent Anglin was fully cognizant of his smear campaign based on the extent in which he mobilized his followers to lash out. Dumpson’s demands for Anglin to stop using her name, cease online harassment, undergo anti-racism and anti-sexism training, and pay reparations are reasonable. Assist in Dumpson’s vindication from the past and ensure that justice is served.


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Photo credit: Jeff Watts

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One Comment

  1. gen agustsson says:

    stop discriminating people of color now!

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