In March 2017, Plaintiff was elected as American University’s first female African American student body president. Following the election, Plaintiff was the target of hate crimes targeting her on the basis of her race and gender. On her first day in office, nooses were found hanging around the campus with bananas tied to them. Some bananas had “AKA” written on them – referencing Plaintiff’s historically black sorority. Others read “Harambe bait,” referencing a gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo as a racist and threatening comparison to African Americans. Plaintiff was also harassed through Facebook and Twitter. Andrew Anglin, a known neo-Nazi, posted Plaintiff’s personal information to his white supremacist website, the Daily Stormer, and directed his followers to harass her via social media. A number of people did target her with hate, including the other defendants in this case. As a result of these events, Plaintiff suffered significant injuries and feared for her safety.
In April 2018, the Stop Hate Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law—along with co-counsel from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Kirkland and Ellis, LLP—initiated this lawsuit against Andrew Anglin, his holding company that owns The Daily Stormer, and a couple individuals who trolled Plaintiff online.
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