The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that promoted the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., will no longer be hosted by GoDaddy, after the service received calls to ban the site over its hate-filled stories.
The Daily Stormer is now seen as trying to spin the threat of being taken down, posting a story that claims to be written by hackers affiliated with the activist group Anonymous. That story includes a threat to delete the site within 24 hours. But a main source of news about Anonymous says the group doesn't seem to be involved.
The dispute over the website comes after a violent weekend in Charlottesville culminated in the killing of Heather Heyer, 32, an anti-white nationalist protester. Police say James Alex Fields Jr., 20, killed Heyer when he drove his car into a crowd of people.
The Daily Stormer then published a story mocking Heyer and making light of the events in Virginia, prompting calls for GoDaddy, which hosts the site, to take it down.
Posting a link to the offending story, women's rights advocate Amy Siskind wrote via Twitter, "@GoDaddy you host The Daily Stormer — they posted this on their site. Please retweet if you think this hate should be taken down & banned."
More than 6,500 people retweeted that message, and the web service replied late Sunday night: "We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service."
In the story on the Daily Stormer, the purported hackers said they'll delete the site by the same deadline set by GoDaddy. But in a break with notable hacking takeovers, the story didn't appear as a message plastered on the front of the site; instead, it was published alongside other pieces, including the one about Heyer.
The Daily Stormer was founded by Andrew Anglin, who also writes much of its most high-profile content; the site is supported by reader donations rather than by advertising.
The alleged hackers' message included the hashtag #TANGODOWN — a term that was quickly used by opponents of the site's views to celebrate its seeming demise. News organizations around the world ran stories about the apparent takeover, which had included the explanation, "this evil cannot be allowed to stand."
But a Twitter account that often relays news about Anonymous states, "We have no confirmation that 'Anonymous' is involved yet. Looks more like a DS stunt. Wonder if they are having issues finding a new host."
Referring to the all-caps message posted on the site — about an elite team targeting Anglin and his site — the account states, "We find claim that it took a 'UNITED FORCE OF ELITE HACKERS' to hack a CMS run by amateurs incredibly amusing."
People commenting on the Daily Stormer site also found the situation amusing, noting that the supposed hackers had said they had located Anglin and would be "sending our allies in Lagos to pay him a visit in person."
"LOL, this meme just won't end," one person wrote about the Lagos reference.
Earlier this year, Anglin's website was linked to an office in Worthington, Ohio, the Columbus suburb where he went to high school. As Columbus Alive reported, "Anglin's current whereabouts remain unknown."
The most popular response on the comment board was one that mocked people on Twitter who had announced the Daily Stormer had been taken over.
"Anglin you are a legend," one person wrote.