BATON ROUGE, La. – A Muslim-American radio host is accusing the publisher of a notorious neo-Nazi website of defaming him by falsely labeling him the "mastermind" of a deadly concert bombing in England, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.
SiriusXM Radio show host Dean Obeidallah sued The Daily Stormer's publisher, Andrew Anglin, two days after domain name registration companies Google and GoDaddy yanked the site's web address, effectively making it unreachable. The companies acted after Anglin's publication of a post mocking the 32-year-old woman killed in a deadly attack at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.
Obeidallah's suit says the site embedded fabricated messages in June 1 story to make them seem like they had been sent from Obeidallah's Twitter account, tricking readers into believing he took responsibility for the May 22 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Obeidallah, a comedian and Daily Beast columnist, told The Associated Press that he received death threats after the article's publication.
"It was literally jaw-dropping," he said. "The death threats were something I've never seen before in my life."
One comment on the post said Obeidallah "just earned himself a spot at the gallows," according to his suit. Another threatened him with hanging, the suit said.
"Mr. Obeidallah is an ardent believer in and defender of the First Amendment. He recognizes the importance of freedom of speech and political discourse, regardless of viewpoint. But the First Amendment does not license defamation," his suit says.
The suit claims that the article's defamatory statements were intended to incite violence against Obeidallah, citing other alleged examples of Daily Stormer readers who did just that, including Dylann Roof, who read the site before killing black churchgoers in South Carolina.
The suit comes at a tumultuous time for The Daily Stormer, which already faced a federal lawsuit by another target of one of its online trolling campaigns.
Access to the site has been sporadic since Google canceled the site's domain name registration on Monday. The site had moved its registration to Google after GoDaddy tweeted late Sunday night that it had given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider. Google then yanked the address as well, citing a violation of its terms of service.
Anglin's article about Heather Heyer — the woman killed when a car plowed into a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville on Saturday — called her "fat" and "childless" and said "most people are glad she is dead, as she is the definition of uselessness."
Anglin, an Ohio native who uses a post office box in Worthington, Ohio, didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday on Obeidallah's suit, which was filed in Columbus.
A lawyer for Obeidallah said The Daily Stormer hasn't responded to their request to remove the June 1 article about him. Obeidallah is represented by Muslim Advocates, a national legal and educational organization based in Oakland, California.
Obeidallah's lawsuit claims Anglin libeled him, invaded his privacy and intentionally inflicted "emotional distress." It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The Daily Stormer published its post about Obeidallah a day after the Daily Beast published his column entitled, "Will Donald Trump Ever Say the Words 'White Supremacist Terrorism'?"
"Their goal was clearly to marginalize my voice," said Obeidallah, 47, a resident of New York City.
Anglin's site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda. The site includes sections called "Jewish Problem" and "Race War."
In April, a Montana woman sued Anglin for orchestrating an anti-Semitic trolling campaign against her family. Tanya Gersh's suit claims anonymous internet trolls bombarded Gersh's family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin published their personal information in a post accusing her and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, of engaging in an "extortion racket" against the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Gersh is represented by attorneys from the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. In July, the law center's lawyers claimed Anglin was "actively concealing his whereabouts" and hadn't been served with Gersh's suit. They said they looked for him at four addresses in Franklin County, Ohio, where he apparently has connections.