GoDaddy Severs Ties With Daily Stormer After Charlottesville Article


Ben Butler, the director of GoDaddy’s digital crimes unit, said in a statement emailed through a spokesman that the company generally does not take action that would constitute censorship. “While we detest the sentiment of such sites, we support a free and open internet and, similar to the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content,” he said.

“In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in violence against any person, we will take action,” he said. “In our determination, especially given the tragic events in Charlottesville, crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence.”

The company had been asked in a report in July in The Daily Beast why it did not take action against the website, even after Daily Stormer had published an article promising to “track down” the relatives of CNN staffers. At the time, Ben Butler, GoDaddy’s director of network abuse, cited the First Amendment in defending his company’s business with the organization.

“While we detest the sentiment of this site and the article in question, we support First Amendment rights and, similar to the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content,” he told The Daily Beast.

Like other homes for white supremacists on the internet, The Daily Stormer features message boards and sarcastic commentary. It was created by Andrew Anglin in 2013, amid a national uproar over the killing in Florida of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old black teenager, by a neighborhood watch monitor, George Zimmerman.

Other companies have also distanced themselves from the organizers of the rally in Charlottesville. Airbnb last week canceled a number of accounts and bookings associated with the Unite the Right Free Speech Rally, which had been described as an event that “seeks to affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests,” according to a description on Facebook.

On Monday, the chief executive officer of Merck, Kenneth C. Frazier, quit an advisory panel over President Trump’s statement blaming “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Frazier for the decision.

Also on Monday, Dischord, a chat app that allows anonymity, announced that it would delete several accounts associated with the events in Charlottesville. It also deleted an “alt-right” server.

And TIKI Brand, the company that manufactures the torches that were carried by some of the white nationalists on Friday night, slammed the use of their product at the rally. “We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way,” it said in a statement.

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