A new lawsuit could set a precedent for limiting free speech on the internet.
Tanya Gersh, has been harassed on the Internet due to allegations that she extorted another woman, Sherry Spencer, to sell her income-property building and donate a chunk of the proceeds to Gersh’s favorite ‘human rights’ organization because Spencer’s son, Richard, had identified himself on the Internet as a ‘white nationalist’. Which was offensive to Gersh. If Mrs. Spencer did not do as advised, Gersh told her that there could be protests at the property that would hurt the businesses of her tenants and lower the property value.
That, however, is only the surface of the story. The deeper elements are where the real controversy lies. Tanya Gersh is a Jewish woman who, because of her role in pressuring Mrs. Spencer to sell her property and make a donation to the human rights group, was ‘doxxed’ by a neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer. That means the Stormer published her phone number, address, email address, and employment data and encouraged its readers to harass Gersh in a “troll storm”. Gersh’s 12-year-old son also was doxxed and harassed with anti-Jewish sentiments.
Gersh is a real estate agent and asked for the listing on Spencer’s building, in addition to a “donation” from the profits of the sale to be given to a human rights group that was considering picketing in front of the building and calling for a boycott of the businesses there. The idea was that, if Mrs. Spencer would make a nice donation, the picket lines and the boycott would be called off. In an email to Sherry Spencer, Gersh wrote:
“Hi Sherry. After talking with you about your intentions yesterday morning, I contacted the director from the local Human Rights Network for their help in making sure people in their community didn’t protest the building. I also contacted Love Live Here for their support. The response was incredible. I mentioned what we discussed about the possibility of you making a small donation to the Network with the sale of your building to make a statement. They offered to write your public statement…”
What makes this event a bit different is that, here we have two sides of a controversy relating to free speech and civil rights, and most people would consider that neither side is a role model for appropriate behavior. So, which side should we endorse? But wait! It gets even more complex.
Gersh now is represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit organization that claims its mission is to “combat hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.”
In truth, the SPLC is a left-biased organization that publishes a list of of so-called hate groups that lumps together conservatives, Constitutionalists, and Christians with truly objectionable groups. Several years ago, the SPLC contributed to a report for the Missouri Fusion Center that labeled anyone who voted for presidential candidate Ron Paul as a potential terrorist!
Leftists commonly use non-profit and philanthropic organizations as a disguise for their political goals to strong-arm and intimidate others into compliance, and this is secondary the cause they claim to champion. For example, environmental groups rail against “harmful” carbon dioxide, and then push for carbon taxes that do nothing to actually reduce CO2 emissions. They merely tax them.
Another example is George Soros’ funding of the Black Lives Matter group. While claiming to be concerned about improving the lives and the security of black people, the effect of funding is to throw black people into violent confrontation with white people and to create a societal push back. Another Soros-inspired civil war will not be good for anyone, especially black people.
Here are the key issues in this case:
• What are the parameters for criticizing someone online?
• Did Tanya Gersh make herself a public figure who is open to broad criticism by “spear-heading” the campaign against Spencer?
• Can it be proven that Gersh extorted – or attempted to extort – Sherry Spencer?
• Can extortion charges be brought against Gersh?
• Did the Montana Human Rights Network and its affiliate use planned protests against Spencer as a shakedown for cash?
• The SPLC has more than $350 million in assets. Critics have suggested that it will try to bankrupt Anglin (the owner of the Daily Stormer) with court costs to punish him and shut down his website.
• If free speech is taken away on the Internet, how can individuals who are strong- armed by their opponents fight back?
What do you think? Please leave a comment.