First Lawsuit Against Daily Stormer to Reach Resolution
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, a federal court ordered the publishers of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white nationalist website, to pay American Muslim radio host and comedian Dean Obeidallah $4.1 million for publishing false and defamatory statements. This is the first lawsuit against the Daily Stormer to reach a resolution and force payment.
“American Muslims should be able to take part in public life without being threatened or attacked,” said Mr. Obeidallah. “This ruling sends a clear message that Muslim voices will not be silenced by threats and hate.”
In June 2017, the Daily Stormer published an article entitled “Dean Obeidallah, Mastermind Behind Manchester Bombing, Calls on Trump to Declare Whites the Real Terrorists,” which falsely claimed that Obeidallah planned and executed the horrific terrorist attack that took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom a little over a week earlier. The article included fabricated images, purportedly captured from Mr. Obeidallah’s Twitter account, to deceive readers into believing that Mr. Obeidallah has claimed responsibility for the bombing and professed support for other terrorist attacks.
As a result of the article, Obeidallah—who hosts the national daily radio program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” on SiriusXM radio and regularly contributes to CNN and other national news publications—endured threats, suffered emotional distress and suffered permanent damage to his reputation. In August 2017, Obeidallah—along with Muslim Advocates, Latham & Watkins LLP and The Chandra Law Firm LLC—sued the publishers of the Daily Stormer, including founder Andrew Anglin. Because of Anglin’s failure to contest the lawsuit and because of the uncontroverted evidence of defamation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted Obeidallah the full award of $4.1 million. In addition, the court also awarded a permanent injunction to have the defaming articles removed.
“This is a victory for all American Muslims in public life and for everyone who opposes hate,” said Juvaria Khan, senior staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. “The uncontroverted evidence shows that the Daily Stormer knowingly published false smears based on fabricated evidence. That is not free speech—that is a dangerous, reckless disregard for the truth.”
Sirine Shebaya and Juvaria Khan of Muslim Advocates; Abid Qureshi, Thomas Humphrey, and Tyler Williams of Latham & Watkins LLP; and Subodh Chandra and Donald Screen of The Chandra Law Firm LLC represent Mr. Obeidallah.
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.