This week Taylor Dumpson secured a settlement against a white supremacist internet troll who was part of an online harassment campaign targeting her for being the first female African American student body president at American University.
The terms of the settlement include that the defendant, Evan James McCarty, must apologize to Dumpson while admitting his involvement in the online harassment. He will renounce white supremacy, racial hate, bigotry, and prejudice and aid the prosecution of other online harassers. He must perform 200 hours of community service and advocacy focusing on racial justice and attend anti-hate training and counseling. The agreement says that the “advocacy could take many forms, such as direct outreach to other white supremacists to attempt de-radicalization.”
Dumpson believes that the settlement with McCarty “could raise awareness of issues of racial justice, while also providing educational benefits.” Dumpson plans to record McCarty’s apology to use for racial justice and educational purposes. She also wants to use her lawsuit to “hold people accountable for their bigoted actions.” “I guess I was open to the idea that even the perpetrator of a racially motivated act of bias could still be more or less reformed,” Dumpson said.
Kristen Clarke, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law president and executive director, said that the settlement should have a “chilling effect” on anonymous internet harassers and white supremacists. “At the end of the day, our settlement should send a strong message to white supremacists and neo-Nazis all across the country that they will be held accountable for their conduct,” she stated.
In April, Dumpson sued Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, and two other harassers, including Evan James McCarty. The lawsuit argues that Anglin directed readers of The Daily Stormer to harass her anonymously online. He tweeted “READY THE TROOPS” along with a picture of bananas after Dumpson’s location was announced. He also posted links to Dumpson’s Facebook page and the American University Student Government twitter page on his website to encourage his followers to target Dumpson.
The day after Taylor Dumpson was inaugurated as student body president at American University in May 2017, bananas were hung from nooses across campus. Neo-Nazis used racial slurs and targeted Dumpson’s sorority as well. As a result, Dumpson was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and “feels constantly afraid and on edge.” “It’s one of the first things I think about in the morning and one of the last things I think about when I got to sleep,” she said.
The court has yet to rule on her suit against Anglin and the other defendant. Anglin currently has three federal lawsuits filed against him for racist and anti-Semitic online harassment. Google and GoDaddy have removed his website domain after violent, racist, and hateful rhetoric following the death of a woman at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Media Resources: Houston Chronicle 12/18/18; Lawyers’ COmmittee for Civil Rights Under Law 12/19/18; Feminist Newswire 8/14/17