Residents in Whitefish are responding to a rash of anti-Semitic online harassment stemming from a post to a neo-Nazi website last Friday.
The post in the Daily Stormer called for readers to target three Whitefish families with a "troll storm." The author posted photos, phone numbers and Twitter handles of people he said were extorting family members of outspoken white supremacist Richard Spencer, and encouraged readers to contact the targets and voice their opinions.
Spencer’s parents, Sherry and Rand, say their relationship to Richard has negatively impacted their business investments in town, including a multi-use building they say they now plan to sell.
At the Whitefish Community Center Wednesday afternoon, people stacked hand-made knit hats, soaps, paper cranes, boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine on a table. The goodies, along with handwritten cards, will be delivered to the three families and several businesses affected by the online trolling instigated by the Daily Stormer web post.
Jen Runnels, a Whitefish-based small-business owner also facing online harassment, organized the donation drops for the gift baskets:
"I just wanted to do something to show them that we're here for them and we're not going to stand for this hate," Runnels said.
Some of the cards were addressed to Sherry and Rand Spencer. The Spencers have denounced the anti-semitic posts to social media instigated by the Daily Stormer web post, saying they’ve faced threats and bullying on social media as well.
Governor Steve Bullock and both of Montana’s Senators posted on Twitter there is no time nor place for hate in Montana, and this is not acceptable.