The alt-right movement might thrive online, but AltRight.com went offline Thursday evening, when its domain registrar cut ties with the toxic website.
AltRight.com was founded by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who coined the racist movement’s name. The website has remained online, even as web hosting companies ended their business with other racist right sites like The Daily Stormer following a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August. But on Thursday, domain registrar GoDaddy finally pulled the plug on AltRight.com, giving Spencer’s website 48 hours to transfer its domain to another web host or lose it.
GoDaddy has previously cited freedom of expression while allowing sites like Spencer’s to use their services.
“GoDaddy does not condone content that advocates expressions of hate, racism or bigotry,” GoDaddy told The Daily Beast in a statement on AltRight.com’s removal. “However, we generally do not take action on complaints that would constitute censorship of content and that represents the exercise of freedom of speech and expression on the Internet. 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.”
But AltRight.com, which published white supremacist articles daily, crossed a line, the company 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 specific acts of violence against any person, we will take action. It is our determination that altright.com crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence in a direct and threatening manner. As is our standard process when dealing with these incidents, we gave the customer 48 hours to transfer the domain elsewhere.”
The move comes fewer than two weeks after the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent GoDaddy a letter arguing that AltRight.com violated GoDaddy’s terms of service, which prohibit illegal activity and the promotion of violence. The Lawyers’ Committee pointed to a recent AltRight.com article that claimed U.S. border guards should be allowed to engage in “lawlessness and savagery” against immigrants. “Superiors would do well to turn their heads to a bit of brutality and vengeance by our guys on the border, perhaps even tolerating a massacre here or there,” the article claimed.
The Lawyers’ Committee also pointed to AltRight.com’s comment section, which hosted comments calling for extreme violence against women and minorities.
GoDaddy’s decision comes at a difficult time for Spencer, who recently cancelled his disastrous college speaking tour, and turned to begging supporters for legal funds to support him through a major lawsuit against him and other alt-right figures. Facebook also recently deleted Spencer’s Facebook page, and online funding platforms like WePay announced they would no longer allow him to use their services.
If Spencer wants to keep AltRight.com online, he might follow The Daily Stormer’s playbook. The Stormer, a neo-Nazi site that was ousted from GoDaddy and other web hosts in August, spent months bouncing between URLs in search for a company that would host its hate speech. After a stint on the dark web, the Stormer is now using an obscure web host that appears to do much of its business with Chinese websites.
On Twitter, where Spencer still has a profile, the white nationalist lashed out at GoDaddy. He retweeted the Twitter account for Gab, a social media platform that markets toward alt-righters who feel censored elsewhere.
“You are horrible people,” Gab wrote at GoDaddy. “This is what authoritarian fascism actually looks like.”