By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
Gov. Chris Sununu spoke out against Dawn Johnson, the newly elected Laconia state representative who created a firestorm when she shared an article from a notorious neo-Nazi website.
“Regardless of political party, we must condemn anti-Semitism and racism in all forms. These comments are repugnant and appalling,” Sununu said.
Johnson, a Republican who is also a member of the Laconia School Board, did not answer her phone on Monday, and her voicemail was full. She did not respond to an email requesting comment. She has also deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts since starting the controversy by posting an article from The Daily Stormer.
Andrew Anglin, the founder of the website and author of most of the racist and anti-Semitic articles posted there, issued a statement defending Johnson and attacking the media, implying Jewish reporters were attacking her for “simply telling the truth.”
“I’m glad she did apologize, because she shouldn’t have to go to bat for me or my website,” Anglin wrote.
The website is unambiguous about its ideology, and Anglin has sole bylines on dozens of racist, misogonist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic articles on the home page.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Anglin has tried to rebrand himself less as a neo-Nazi, and more of an American Nationalist and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump.
“Despite his ostensible shift away from neo-Nazi ideology, Anglin continues to attack Jews on a daily basis, using crude anti-Semitic language to describe various figures,” the ADL report of Anglin states. “In the ‘Jewish Problem’ section of The Daily Stormer, he accuses Jews of all sorts of societal ills. Anglin also lauds Hitler and promotes Holocaust denial. His hatred extends to other minorities, particularly blacks, and he frequently uses news items as a launching pad for his racist tirades.”
Anglin has said his goal is to use the Internet to normalize his far-right ideology so that it is acceptable to most mainstream people.
New Hampshire Democrats have called on Johnson to resign from the State House, and Laconia residents held an anti-hate visibility rally on Monday. Sununu’s representatives did not respond when asked if there will be an effort to have Johnson resign.
Johnson has engaged in debunked theories about the November presidential election online and anti-vaccination theories. After she was called out for sharing The Daily Stormer article, she apologized and removed the post.
The ADL reports that cases of anti-Semitic and other hate incidents continue to increase in New Hampshire. The number of white supremacist propaganda incidents in the Granite State increased in 2020 – from 43 incidents so far compared to 29 in 2019, and three in 2018. The total hate incidents in New Hampshire is at 50 incidents in 2020, compared to 2019’s 34. Reported hate crimes have gone from 13 in 2018 to 16 in 2019.