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One Twitter user whose hobby is outing white supremacists has vowed to continue, despite receiving death threats after far-right trolls published his personal information online.
Logan Smith, who started the @YesYoureRacist Twitter account during the 2012 presidential election as a side project, had his address and phone numbers published on ill-famed message board 8chan following his efforts to identify the participants of Saturday’s “Unite The Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Virginia rally ended in chaos and violence when hate groups clashed violently with counterprotesters. The unrest turned deadly after a 20-year-old Ohio man believed to have white supremacist ties drove a car through a crowd of peaceful protesters on Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Online, @YesYoureRacist published images from the rally requesting help in identifying the marchers. Smith’s inbox became flooded with tips and crowdsourced research. Once he had verified the information, Smith published tweets exposing the names and home states of several white supremacists. His efforts went viral.
While the controversial activism did spark online debate over Smith’s efforts after at least two innocent individuals were misidentified as attendees, it has caused at least one correctly spotted white nationalist demonstrator, Cole White, to lose his job.
Naturally, this made Smith and his account a target for those on the far-right who have been actively working to shut down @YesYoureRacist.
As news of Saturday’s violence spread, many people pledged financial support to Smith, a communications director at left-leaning nonprofit Progress North Carolina, through a dedicated @YesYoureRacist’s Patreon page.
Alt-right trolls have been reporting the Patreon page en mass, claiming that it is in violation of the company’s terms and condition in that it promotes doxxing—the publishing of an individual’s personally identifiable information. Patreon found itself caught in the hyperpartisan crossfire just weeks ago, after both alt-right and Antifa supporters spammed its reporting system in order to cut the other’s funding.
A new escalation by 8channers, however, potentially endangers Smith’s family. Trolls published a comprehensive list of social media accounts and contact details associated with Smith’s workplace, as well as personal details about his close family.
“They are saying they are going to kill me, insulting my wife, insulting my family,” Smith told WRAL.
Still, Smith believes in the importance of his objective in making racists famous.
“Intimidation is how these people work. It’s how they worked when they were burning crosses in people’s yards,” he said in another interview with Time on Tuesday. “By giving into that intimidation, it’s how they win. I refuse to give into that. I refuse to let them win.”
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.