On April 30, 2017, Taylor Dumpson was inaugurated as the first female, African-American student government president at The American University (AU) in Washington, D.C. – my undergraduate alma mater. The next day, a masked man hung “nooses with bananas inscribed with racist and derogatory messages around the AU campus.”
Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, published Dumpson’s name, photo, and direct links to her Facebook account and the AU Student Government Twitter account with which Dumpson was associated as AU Student Government President and directed his followers to “troll storm” Dumpson. Daily Stormer followers Brian Andrew Ade, Evan James McCarty, and others began to barrage Dumpson with racist messages such that she began fearing for her life and suffering both physically and mentally. Dumpson suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety and lost more fifteen percent of her body weight.
Lawsuit and Landmark Settlement
On April 30, 2018, Dumpson filed suit against Ade, McCarty, Anglin and Daily Stormer’s holding company Moonbase Holdings in federal court in the District of Columbia alleging not only intentional infliction of emotional distress but also asserting a claim under the DC Human Rights Act that Anglin and his followers’ actions denied her full and equal enjoyment of a public accommodation (AU) on the basis of race and gender.
In December, McCarty agreed to a landmark settlement in which he agreed to:
- apologize in writing and video to Dumpson;
- aid the prosecution of the remaining defendants;
- renounce white supremacy, racial hate, bigotry, and prejudice;
- perform 200 hours of community service and advocacy focusing on racial justice (which may include direct outreach to other white supremacists to attempt de-radicalization); and
- attend anti-hate training and counseling.
Judgment for Plaintiff
Last week Dumpson won a default judgment against the remaining defendants for:
- $101,429.28 in compensatory damages;
- $500,000.00 in punitive damages;
- $124,022.10 in attorneys’ fees and costs; and
- a restraining order prohibiting further harassment of Dumpson.
It is the third major judgment against Anglin and Daily Stormer this summer, as a federal court in Ohio awarded $4.1 million against Daily Stormer and a Montana court awarded $14 million for anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic defamation/harassment respectively. These judgments could bankrupt Daily Stormer.
Congratulations to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for spearheading Ms. Dumpson’s representation in this matter and taking a stand against online hate and abuse in a way that is fully consistent with the First Amendment.
Most importantly, congratulations to the courageous Ms. Dumpson, who I understand is attending law school. Based on her TedX presentation (see below), I am confident she has a brilliant career ahead of her.
Finally, as an alumnus of American University, I want to stress that these actions do not represent who we are as a university community.
The court’s default judgment opinion is below.
From Exclusion to Inclusion | Taylor Dumpson | TEDxAmericanUniversity