Type of site
|White supremacist, Neo-Nazi, Holocaust denial forum|
|Available in||English, with sub-forums in multiple languages|
|Created by||Don Black|
|Alexa rank||11,906 (October 2017[update])|
|Registration||Required to post (except in open sub-fora)|
|Part of the Politics and elections and Politics series on|
|Part of a series on|
Stormfront is a white nationalist, white supremacist, antisemitic, Holocaust denial, neo-Nazi Internet forum, and the Web's first major racial hate site. In addition to its promotion of Holocaust denial, Stormfront has increasingly become active in the propagation of Islamophobia.
Stormfront began as an online bulletin board system in the early 1990s before being established as a website in 1996 by former Ku Klux Klan leader and white supremacist Don Black. It received national attention in the United States in 2000 after being featured as the subject of a documentary, Hate.com. Stormfront has been the subject of controversy after being removed from French, German, and Italian Google indexes, for targeting an online Fox News poll on racial segregation, and for having political candidates as members. Its prominence has grown since the 1990s, attracting attention from watchdog organizations that oppose racism and antisemitism.
In August 2017, Stormfront was taken offline for just over a month when its registrar seized its domain name due to complaints that it promoted hatred and that some of its members were linked to murder. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law claimed credit for the action after advocating for Stormfront's web host, Network Solutions, to enforce its Terms of Service agreement which prohibits users from using its services to incite violence.
Stormfront began in 1990 as an online bulletin board for white nationalist David Duke's campaign for United States senator for Louisiana. The name "Stormfront" was chosen for its connotations of a political or military front (such as the German Nazi stormtroopers, the Sturmabteilung or SA) and an analogy with weather fronts that invokes the idea of a tumultuous storm ending in cleansing. The Stormfront.org website was founded in 1996 by Don Black, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s and a member of the National Socialist White People's Party. Black first received computer training while he was imprisoned for his role in an abortive 1981 attempt to overthrow the government of Dominica.
Although Stormfront became the first website associated with white supremacy, its founding as a private cyberspace medium for white supremacy was based on the earlier online bulletin board system Liberty Net. Liberty Net was implemented in 1984 by Klan grand dragon Louis Beam and protected by four password protected computers that took the FBI two years to decrypt. Liberty Net's code-accessed message board contained personal ads along with recruitment material and information about the white power movement. Liberty Net's success as a computer platform led to Stormfront's establishment and later conversion into a website.
Until this point, attempts at using the Internet as opposed to bulletin boards for the white pride movement were met with limited success, but Stormfront quickly became popular with the growth of the Internet during the 1990s. By 1999, nearly 2,000 websites associated with white supremacy existed, with the recruitment power of reaching millions across the U.S.
The website has received considerable attention in the U.S., given that, as of 2009, it had over 120,000 active members.
The 2000 CBS/HBO TV documentary special Hate.com focused on the rise of hate groups online and included input from Don Black, the founder of Stormfront. Narrated by Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), it featured interviews with Black and his son Derek as well as interviews with other white nationalist groups and organizations. Black had participated in the hope that the broadcast would show some sympathy towards the white nationalist movement, but Hate.com focused exclusively on the group's tactics and not its grievances.
In 2002, Google complied with French and German legislation forbidding links to websites which host white supremacist, Holocaust-denying or historical revisionist material by removing Stormfront.org from their French and German indexes.
Stormfront returned to the news in May 2003, when Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly reported on a racially segregated prom being held in Georgia and posted a poll on his website asking his viewers if they would send their own children to one. The next night O'Reilly announced that he could not report the results of the poll as it appeared Stormfront had urged its members to vote in the poll, thus skewing the numbers.
Doug Hanks, a candidate for the city council of Charlotte, North Carolina, withdrew his nomination in August 2005 after it was revealed that he had posted on Stormfront. Hanks had posted more than 4,000 comments over three years, including one in which he described black people as "rabid beasts". Hanks said his postings were designed to gain the trust of Stormfront users to help him write a novel: "I did what I thought I needed to do to establish myself as a credible white nationalist."
In 2012 Italian police blocked the website and arrested four people for allegedly inciting racial hatred. The measure was taken after the publication of a blacklist of "prominent Jews and people who support Jews and immigrants" on the Italian section of the website. The list included possible targets of violent attacks, including gypsy camps. The subsequent year, Italian police raided the homes of 35 Stormfront posters, in November 2013. One man who was arrested in Mantua had two loaded weapons, a hand grenade casing, and a flag with a swastika in his possession.
According to a 2014 two-year study by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)'s Intelligence Report, registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the site was put up in 1995. In the five years leading up to 2014, Stormfront members murdered nearly 100 people. Of these, 77 were massacred by one Stormfront user, Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian terrorist who perpetrated the 2011 Norway attacks.
Public profile and later history
The total of registered users is just shy of 300,000, a fairly astounding number for a site run by an ex-felon and former Alabama Klan leader. And that doesn't include thousands of visitors who never register as users. At press time, Stormfront ranked as the Internet's 13,648th most popular site, while the NAACP site, by comparison, ranked 32,640th. – The Year in Hate and Extremism, 2015
In 2006, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported a discussion on Stormfront in which white nationalists were encouraged to join the U.S. military to learn the skills necessary for winning a race war. The 2008 United States presidential candidacy of African-American Democrat Barack Obama was a cause of significant concern for some Stormfront members: the site received 2,000 new members the day after Obama was elected as President, and went offline temporarily due to the increase in visitors. Stormfront posters saw Obama as representing a new multicultural era in the United States replacing "white rule", feared that he would support illegal immigration and affirmative action, and that he would help make white people a minority group.
During the 2008 primary campaigns, The New York Times mistakenly reported that Stormfront had donated $500 to Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul; in fact, it was site owner Don Black who had contributed the money to Paul. Following an April 2009 shooting, Richard Poplawski, a poster on the site, was charged with ambushing and killing three Pittsburgh Police officers and attempting to kill nine others.
During the 2016 election season, site founder Don Black said that the site was experiencing huge spikes in traffic corresponding to controversial statements by Donald Trump, who is popular among white supremacists. In response, Black upgraded the site's servers.
Black's son Derek, who was a long-time participant in the site, has disavowed the beliefs held by his father and family and the Stormfront site, according to an article in The Washington Post. Through his years in college, Derek Black came to feel that white nationalism is not supportable.
In August 2017, Stormfront's domain name was seized by its registrar for "displaying bigotry, discrimination or hatred." Earlier the same month, white supremacist news and commentary website The Daily Stormer had been removed from the public Internet for its involvement in the Unite the Right rally.
Stormfront is a resource for those courageous men and women fighting to preserve their White Western culture, ideals and freedom of speech and association—a forum for planning strategies and forming political and social groups to ensure victory.— Stormfront mission statement.
It is a site on which Nazi mysticism and the personality cult of Adolf Hitler are sustained and Nazi iconography is used and accepted. The Stormfront.org website is organized primarily as a discussion forum with multiple thematic sub-fora including "News", "Ideology and Philosophy" ("Foundations for White Nationalism"), "Culture and Customs", "Theology", "Quotations", "Revisionism", "Science, Technology and Race" ("Genetics, eugenics, racial science and related subjects"), "Privacy", "Self-Defense, Martial Arts, and Preparedness", "Homemaking", "Education and Homeschooling", "Youth", and "Music and Entertainment". There are boards for different geographic regions, and a section open to unregistered guests, who are elsewhere unable to post, and even then, only under heavy moderation.
Stormfront.org hosts files from and links to a number of white nationalist and white racist websites, an online dating service (for "heterosexual White Gentiles only"), and electronic mailing lists that allows the white nationalist community to discuss issues of interest. It features a selection of current news reports, an archive of past stories, live streaming of The Political Cesspool radio show, and a merchandise store featuring literature and music. Stormfront has reportedly published stories aimed at children.
A 2001 study of recruitment by extremist groups on the Internet noted that Stormfront at that time came close to offering most of the standard services offered by web portals, including an internal search engine, web hosting, and categorized links, and lacking only an Internet search engine and the provision of free email for its members (though a limited email service was available at the price of $30 a month).
Prominently featured on the homepage is a Celtic cross surrounded by the words "white pride, world wide." A mission statement praises courage and freedom. Stormfront states it discourages racial slurs, and prohibits violent threats and descriptions of anything illegal. Others state that blatant hate and calls for violence are only kept off the opening page.
The site uses the Fraktur font, which was the favored font of the Nazi Party when it emerged in the early 1920s. Official Nazi documents and letterheads employed the font, and the cover of Hitler's Mein Kampf used a hand-drawn version of it.
Purpose and appeal
Don Black has long worked to increase the mainstream appeal of white supremacism. Black established Stormfront to heighten awareness of perceived anti-white discrimination and government actions detrimental to white people, and to create a virtual community of white extremists. Black owns the site's servers so he is not dependent upon website hosting providers.
Black's organization inculcated enough white pride to make "its worldwide aspirations meaningful and socially significant". Stormfront keeps the rhetoric in its forums muted, discourages racial slurs, and prohibits violent threats and descriptions of anything illegal. Site moderator Jamie Kelso was reportedly "the motivating force behind real community-building among Stormfront members" due to his energy and enthusiasm in organizing offline events. Black's positioning the site as a community with the explicit purpose of "defending the white race" helped sustain the community, as it attracts white people who define themselves in opposition to ethnic minorities, particularly Jews.
Stormfront established MartinLutherKing.org to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr. In a 2001 study of white nationalist groups including Stormfront, academics Beverly Ray and George E. Marsh II commented that "Like the Nazis before them, they rely upon a blend of science, ignorance, and mythology to prop up their arguments".
Stormfront presents itself as being engaged in a struggle for unity, identifying culture, speech and free association as its core concerns, though members of Stormfront are especially passionate about racial purity. It promotes a lone wolf mentality, which links it to white nationalist theorist Louis Beam's influential work on leaderless resistance and offers a sympathetic assessment of Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a white supremacist who committed suicide after a racially motivated killing spree in July 1999. Violet Jones[who?] notes that Stormfront credits its mission to "the founding myth of an America created, built, and ideologically grounded by the descendants of white Europeans." Don Black has specifically compared his views to those of the Founding Fathers, whom he asserts "did not believe that an integrated black and white society was possible in America." Asked in 2008 by an interviewer for the Italian newspaper la Repubblica whether Stormfront was a 21st-century version of the Ku Klux Klan without the iconography, Black responded affirmatively, though he noted that he would never say so to an American journalist. In addition to its promotion of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, Stormfront has increasingly become active in the propagation of Islamophobia.
- "Stormfront.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Wojcieszak, Magdalena (June 16, 2009). "Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights". Sociological Inquiry 80 (1). Retrieved March 24, 2016.
...John Black founded stormfron in November 1996….
- Sources which consider Stormfront a white nationalist website include:
- Dan Keating (May 2, 1995). "White supremacists booted from Internet". Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
'I wasn't surprised,' said Don Black of West Palm Beach, who runs the Stormfront World Wide Web site for white nationalists.
- Andrew Backover (November 8, 1999). "Hate sets up shop on Internet". Denver Post.
Nationally, Stormfront.org, a white nationalist site, is considered the granddaddy of online hatred.
- Jean Winegardner (February 17, 1998). "Is Hate Young and New on the Web?". USC Annenberg's Online Journalism Review. Archived from the original on February 14, 2002.
Don Black, 44, a white nationalist since the age of 15, runs a site many would put in the hate speech category. He [is] the founder of Stormfront, a white nationalist Web site.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
- Anchor: Ted Koppel (January 13, 1998). "Hate and the Internet". ABC News Nightline. ABC.
[...] Storm Front, a Web site dedicated to the white nationalist movement [...] Storm Front, a white nationalist Web site [...]
- Swain, Carol Miller (2002). The New White Nationalism in America. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-521-80886-6.
Don Black, leader of the white nationalist organization Stormfront
- Dan Keating (May 2, 1995). "White supremacists booted from Internet". Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
- Sources which consider Stormfront a white supremacist website include:
- Abel, D.S. (February 19–25, 1998). "The Racist Next Door". New Times.
Black's swastika-strewn "Stormfront" – the only white supremacist Website on the Internet before the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City
- Etchingham, Julie (January 12, 2000). "Hate.com expands on the net". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved September 14, 2007.
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- "Hate on the World Wide Web:A Brief Guide to Cyberspace Bigotry". ADL.org. Anti-Defamation League. October 1998. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
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- Scheneider, Keith (March 13, 1995). "Hate Groups Use Tools Of the Electronic Trade". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved January 29, 2001.
- Atkins, Stephen E. (August 30, 2002). Encyclopedia of Modern American Extremists and Extremist Groups. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-31502-2. Retrieved July 19, 2008.
In 1995 Black brought up a Web site, Stormfront, which now serves as the primary site for white supremacist Internet communications.
- Mooney, Linda A.; Knox, David; Schach, Caroline (2004). "Race and Ethic Relations". Understanding Social Problems. Thomson Wadsworth. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-534-62514-6. Retrieved July 19, 2008.
White supremacist groups such as Stormfront spread their message of racial hate through their Web site.
- Wang, Wally (April 15, 2006). "Hate Groups and Terrorists on the Internet". Steal This Computer Book 4.0: What They Won't Tell You About the Internet (4th ed.). No Starch Press Inc. p. 239. ISBN 978-1-59327-105-3. Retrieved July 19, 2008.
Don Black, an ex-Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and owner of the white supremacist homepage Stormfront (www.stormfront.org)
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… the inclusion of the Stormfront flag specifically defines its audience as white supremacist.
- Gerstenfeld, Phyllis B. (June 26, 2003). Hate Crimes: Causes, Controls, and Controversies. Sage Publications. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-7619-2814-0.
A search for the term 'Stormfront' on the American version of Google results in a list of sites with the white supremacist Web site Stormfront first on the list.
- Lane, Henry W.; DiStefano, Joseph J.; Maznevski, Martha L. (2006). International Management Behavior. Blackwell Publishing. p. 539. ISBN 978-1-4051-2671-7.
After his release in 1985, Black launched the first white supremacist Web site. Black's "Stormfront" was one of the largest hate sites on the Internet
- Jepson, Peter (2003). Tackling Militant Racism. Ashgate Publishing. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-7546-2163-8.
Stormfront is a white supremacist organisation.footnote 83.
- Abel, D.S. (February 19–25, 1998). "The Racist Next Door". New Times.
- Roberts Jeff John (December 20, 2016) "Google Demotes Holocaust Denial and Hate Sites in Update to Algorithm" Fortune
- Cadwalladr, Carole (December 17, 2016) "How to bump Holocaust deniers off Google’s top spot? Pay Google" The Guardian
- Darnell, Scott (Spring 2010) "Policy Analysis Exercise: Measuring Holocaust Denial in the United States" Harvard University
- Sources which consider Stormfront a Neo-Nazi website include:
- Kim, T.K. (Summer 2005). "Electronic Storm – Stormfront Grows a Thriving Neo-Nazi Community". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center (118). Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- Zhou, Y; Reid, E; Qinj, Chen H; Lai, G (2008). "U.S. Domestic Extremist Groups on the Web: Link and Content Analysis" (PDF). University of Arizona. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
Stormfront.org, a neo-Nazi's Web site set up in 1995, is considered the first major domestic "hate site" on the World Wide Web because of its depth of content and its presentation style which represented a new period for online right-wing extremism
- Eshman, Rob (December 23, 2008). "Jewish Money". The Jewish Journal.
Earlier this week, when I entered the search terms "Madoff" and "Jewish" into Google, the top responses included JewishJournal.com and stormfront.org, a neo-Nazi Web site.
- Hildebrand, Joe (January 1, 2008). "RSL slams Australia Day hijack". The Daily Telegraph. News Corporation.
Much of the activity has been co-ordinated through the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, whose Australian arm is moderated by 18-year-old Newcastle resident Rhys McLean.
- Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn. Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights. McClelland & Stewart, 2009; ISBN 978-0-7710-4619-3, p. 208; "A particularly rough stretch of road is a neo-Nazi website called Stormfront.org."
- Jeffrey Kaplan, Heléne Lööw. The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization. Rowman Altamira, 2002; ISBN 978-0-7591-0204-0, p. 224; "Also, Web Pages such as ...'Stormfront'... in addition to racist, anti-Semitic, and neo-Nazi messages and illustrations, provide links..."
- James Friedman. Reality Squared: Televisual Discourse on the Real. Rutgers University Press, 2002; ISBN 978-0-8135-2989-9, p. 163; "Stormfront provides its viewers with... a general store stocked with Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and neo-Nazi literature and music..."
- Peter Katel, "Hate Groups: Is Extremism on the Rise in the United States?", in CQ Researcher (ed.). Issues in Terrorism and Homeland Security, SAGE, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4129-9201-5, p. 79; "...a March 13 Web post by Poplawski to the neo-Nazi Web site Stormfront."
- Zev Garber. Mel Gibson's Passion: The Film, the Controversy, and its Implications. Purdue University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-1-55753-405-7, p. 147; "...Internet websites (e.g. Angry White Female web-page, Vanguard News Network, Christian Identity website, Stormfront Neo-Nazi website, National Alliance website...)"
- Mark Crispin Miller. Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform. Basic Books, 2007, ISBN 978-0-465-04580-8, p. 461; "...appearing on such ultra-rightist websites as Free Republic and the neo-Nazi outfit Stormfront ("WHITE PRIDE WORLD WIDE")"
- Markos Moulitsas. American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right, Polipoint Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-936227-02-0, p. 56; "Poplawski was active on white supremacist and neo-Nazi Stormfront internet forums."
- Andrew Martin, Patrice Petro. Rethinking Global Security: Media, Popular Culture, and the "War on terror". Rutgers University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-8135-3830-3, p. 174; "...9/11 Internet chat-room discussions, including radical hate-group sites like the neo-Nazi Stormfront.org."
- John Gorenfeld, Barry W. Lynn. Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom, Polipoint Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9794822-3-6, p. 68; "She has even written in to neo-Nazi Web site Stormfront, geeking out together on Peter Jackson's film adaptation;..."
- Sources which identify Stormfront as the Internet's "first hate site" include:
- Levin, Brian (August 21, 2003). "Cyberhate: A Legal and Historical Analysis of Extremists' Use of Computer Networks in America". In Perry, Barbara (ed.). Hate and Bias Crime: A Reader. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-94408-3. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- Ryan, Nick (March 2, 2004). "Thirteen Days". Into a World of Hate: A Journey Among the Extreme Right (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-415-94922-4. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
It was Black who would launch Stormfront, the first major extremist hate site.
- Samuels, Shimon (February 6, 1997). "Is the Holocaust unique?". In Rosenbaum, Alan S. (ed.). Is the Holocaust Unique?: Perspectives on Comparative Genocide. Westview Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-8133-3686-2. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
It was Holocaust denier and Ku Klux Klan leader, Don Black, who had founded Stormfront (the very first Internet hate site, in 1995)
- Bolaffi, Guido; Bracalenti, Raffaele; Braham, Peter H.; Gindro, Sandro (December 26, 2002). Dictionary of Race, Ethnicity and Culture (1st ed.). Sage Publications. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-7619-6900-6. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
The first extremist hate site was Stormfront (1995)
- "World's oldest neo-Nazi website Stormfront shut down". August 29, 2017.
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- "Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Takes Action Leading to Shut Down of Stormfront.com". Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Press release). August 28, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- Swain, Carol M.; Nieli, Russell (March 24, 2003). "Don Black". Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 153–165. ISBN 978-0-521-01693-3.
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- Swain, Carol Miller (2002). The New White Nationalism in America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 30–32. ISBN 978-0-521-80886-6.
Stormfront has links to many dozens of other white nationalist and white racist websites, and many of these also feed into Stormfront.
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Black has long been advocate for 'mainstreaming' the white supremacist movement, and the Internet is his preferred medium for doing so. His first and primary presence is Stormfront.org
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Today, the state is home to several of the most powerful white supremicists in the country, including Stormfront, an Internet-based hate group headquartered in West Palm Beach.
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