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White supremacists urge trolling Clinton supporters to suicide

USA TODAY USA TODAY 11/11/2016 Dawn Chmielewski

Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States has emboldened white supremacists to target Hillary Clinton supporters and others with online harassment.

The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published a list of more than 50 Twitter users who had expressed fear about the outcome of the 2016 election, urging its readers to “punish” them with a barrage of tweets that would drive them to suicide. 

“You can troll these people and definitely get some of them to kill themselves,” wrote the Daily Stormer’s publisher, Andrew Anglin. 

Experts who have studied hate groups say white supremacists see Trump’s election as a victory for their ideology and a repudiation of multiculturalism. The outcome of the race has emboldened those who lurk in the Internet’s dark recesses to step up their attacks.

“We’re going to be hearing more about this — many different kinds of harassment of women, of people of color, of Muslims, linked directly to either Trump’s rhetoric or the alt right,” said Sophie Bjork-James, a post-doctoral scholar at Vanderbilt University’s anthropology department.

The Daily Stormer urged its readers to accost Muslim women, and “yell at them, tell them to go home.” At least two women whose Twitter names were circulated by The Daily Stormer said they had been subject to violent tweets.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during his meeting with President Obama. © Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during his meeting with President Obama. One Clinton supporter in Orlando, Fla., watched with increasing disbelief Tuesday as the election results rolled in. As she prepared to go to bed on election night, with the dawning realization that Trump might well become the nation’s next president, she turned to Twitter to express her dismay.

"I've never felt so hopeless and scared about my and America's future. I can't even function at the moment. I'm so scared,” wrote Jennifer Soto Segundo.

The next day, Soto Segundo said she was greeted by violent tweets — one from a user urging her to step into a gas chamber, and another calling for her deportation. She's since made her tweets private.

“I can’t fathom how these people have not only a hate website, they’re saying, 'Hey go bully these people who have their own opinions. Let’s push them to their breaking point because I think its funny and its for my entertainment,'” Soto Segundo told USA TODAY by phone. “It’s childish and manipulative. These grown men and children should be ashamed of themselves.”

Another woman on the Daily Stormer's list, Katie Hegarty, a writer working in digital communications who says she tweets about feminist topics, was targeted by this tweet: "lol, Firing up the ovens as we speak!"

Observers of hate groups worry that online antagonism may lead to real-world confrontations. Schools and police departments reported several incidents of racist and neo-Nazi graffiti, as well as some assaults, in the two days since the election. A female student in San Diego, Calif. on Wednesday said she had been accosted by two men, one white and one Hispanic, who made comments about Muslims and Trump, then grabbed her purse and backpack. San Diego State University Police were investigating the assault as a hate crime. 

A third situation was found to be fabricated. A woman in Louisiana said a Trump supporter grabbed her wallet and headscarf, then later admitted she faked the report.

“If we saw a transition from online trolling to real-world incidents, it’s disturbing,” said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who said the organization has received “dozens” of reports of incidents — many tied to Trump’s election.

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