Stormfront began in 1990 as an online bulletin board for white nationalist David Duke's campaign for United States Senator of Louisiana. The name "Stormfront" was chosen for its connotations of a political or military front (such as the German Nazi stormtroopers, the Sturmabteilung or SA) and an analogy with weather fronts that invokes the idea of a tumultuous storm ending in cleansing. It was opened to the public in 1994, and the Stormfront.org website was founded in 1996 by Don Black, becoming the first website associated with white supremacy.
Until this point, attempts at using the Internet for the white pride movement met with limited success, but Stormfront quickly became popular with the growth of the Internet at this time, according to Black. A former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and in the 1970s a member of the National Socialist White People's Party, Black first received computer training while imprisoned for his role in an abortive 1981 attempt to overthrow the government of Dominica.
The site received considerable attention in the United States, such as in Hate.com, a 2000 CBS/HBO documentary television special which focused on the perceived threat of white nationalist and white supremacist organizations on the Internet. Narrated by Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), it featured interviews with Black and his son Derek as well as other white nationalist groups and organizations.
In 2002, Google complied with French and German legislation forbidding links to websites which host white supremacist, Holocaust-denying or historical revisionist material by removing Stormfront.org from their French and German indexes.
Stormfront returned to the news in May 2003, when Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly reported on a racially segregated prom being held in Georgia and posted a poll on his website asking his viewers if they would send their own children to one. The next night O'Reilly announced that he could not report the results of the poll as it appeared Stormfront had urged its members to vote in the poll, thus skewing the numbers.
Doug Hanks, a candidate for the city council of Charlotte, North Carolina, withdrew his nomination in August 2005 after it was revealed that he had posted on Stormfront. Hanks had posted more than 4,000 comments over three years, including one in which he described black people as "rabid beasts". Hanks said his postings were designed to gain the trust of Stormfront users to help him write a novel: "I did what I thought I needed to do to establish myself as a credible white nationalist."
In 2012 Italian police blocked the website and arrested four people for allegedly inciting racial hatred. The measure was taken after the publication of a blacklist of "prominent Jews and people who support Jews and immigrants" on the Italian section of the website. The list included possible targets of violent attacks, including gypsy camps. The subsequent year, Italian police raided the homes of 35 Stormfront posters, in November 2013. One man who was arrested in Mantua had two loaded weapons, a hand grenade casing, and a flag with a swastika in his possession.
According to a 2014 two-year study by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)'s Intelligence Report, registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the site was put up in 1995. In the five years leading up to 2014, Stormfront members murdered nearly 100 people. Of these, 77 were massacred by one Stormfront user, Anders Breivik, a Norwegian terrorist who perpetrated the 2011 Norway attacks.
The total of registered users is just shy of 300,000, a fairly astounding number for a site run by an ex-felon and former Alabama Klan leader. And that doesn't include thousands of visitors who never register as users. At press time, Stormfront ranked as the Internet's 13,648th most popular site, while the NAACP site, by comparison, ranked 32,640th. – The Year in Hate and Extremism, 2015
In 2006, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported a discussion on Stormfront in which white nationalists were encouraged to join the U.S. military to learn the skills necessary for winning a race war. The 2008 United States presidential candidacy of African-American Democrat Barack Obama was a cause of significant concern for some Stormfront members: the site received 2,000 new members the day after Obama was elected as President, and went offline temporarily due to the increase in visitors. Stormfront posters saw Obama as representing a new multicultural era in the United States replacing "white rule", feared that he would support illegal immigration and affirmative action, and that he would help make white people a minority group.
During the 2008 primary campaigns, The New York Times mistakenly reported that Stormfront had donated $500 to Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul; in fact, it was site owner Don Black who had contributed the money to Paul. Following an April 2009 shooting, Richard Poplawski, a poster on the site, was charged with ambushing and killing three Pittsburgh Police officers and attempting to kill nine others.
During the 2016 election season, site founder Don Black said that the site was experiencing huge spikes in traffic corresponding to controversial statements by Donald Trump, who is popular among white supremacists. In response, Black upgraded the site's servers.
Black's son Derek, who was a long-time participant in the site, has disavowed the beliefs held by his father and family and the Stormfront site, according to an article in The Washington Post. Through his years in college, Derek Black came to feel that white nationalism is not supportable.
Stormfront is a resource for those courageous men and women fighting to preserve their White Western culture, ideals and freedom of speech and association—a forum for planning strategies and forming political and social groups to ensure victory.
Stormfront is a white nationalist, white supremacist and neo-Nazi website known as a hate site.
It is a site on which Nazi mysticism and the personality cult of Adolf Hitler are sustained and Nazi iconography is used and accepted. The Stormfront.org website is organized primarily as a discussion forum with multiple thematic sub-fora including "News", "Ideology and Philosophy" ("Foundations for White Nationalism"), "Culture and Customs", "Theology", "Quotations", "Revisionism", "Science, Technology and Race" ("Genetics, eugenics, racial science and related subjects"), "Privacy", "Self-Defense, Martial Arts, and Preparedness", "Homemaking", "Education and Homeschooling", "Youth", and "Music and Entertainment". There are boards for different geographic regions, and a section open to unregistered guests, who are elsewhere unable to post, and even then, only under heavy moderation.
Stormfront.org hosts files from and links to a number of white nationalist and white racist websites, an online dating service (for "heterosexual White Gentiles only"), and electronic mailing lists that allow the white nationalist community to discuss issues of interest. It features a selection of current news reports, an archive of past stories, live streaming of The Political Cesspool radio show, and a merchandise store featuring literature and music. Stormfront has reportedly published stories aimed at children.
A 2001 study of recruitment by extremist groups on the Internet noted that Stormfront came close to offering most of the standard services offered by web portals, including an internal search engine, web hosting, and categorized links, and lacking only in an Internet search engine and the provision of free email for its members (though a limited email service was available at the price of $30 a month).
Prominently featured on the homepage is a Celtic cross surrounded by the words "white pride, world wide." A mission statement praises courage and freedom. Stormfront states it discourages racial slurs, and prohibits violent threats and descriptions of anything illegal. Others state that blatant hate and calls for violence are only kept off the opening page.
The site uses the Fraktur font, which was the favored font of the Nazi party when it emerged in the early 1920s. Official Nazi documents and letterheads employed the font, and the cover of Hitler's Mein Kampf used a hand-drawn version of it.
On the organization's website Black sets a $7,500 a month goal for donations to cover costs. People can join as Sustaining Members for $5 a month, $50 a year or $1,000 to be a lifetime supporter or as Core Members at $30 a month. Contributions can be paid in Bitcoins.
Don Black has long worked to increase the mainstream appeal of white supremacism. Black established Stormfront to heighten awareness of perceived anti-white discrimination and government actions detrimental to white people, and to create a virtual community of white extremists. Black owns the site's servers so he is not dependent upon website hosting providers.
Black's organization inculcates enough white pride to make "its worldwide aspirations meaningful and socially significant". Stormfront keeps the rhetoric in its forums muted, discourages racial slurs, and prohibits violent threats and descriptions of anything illegal. Site moderator Jamie Kelso is reportedly "the motivating force behind real community-building among Stormfront members" due to his energy and enthusiasm in organizing offline events. Black's positioning the site as a community with the explicit purpose of "defending the white race" has helped sustain the community over its long lifetime, as it attracts white people who define themselves in opposition to ethnic minorities, particularly Jews.
Stormfront established MartinLutherKing.org to discredit Martin Luther King, Jr. In a 2001 study of white nationalist groups including Stormfront, academics Beverly Ray and George E. Marsh II commented that "Like the Nazis before them, they rely upon a blend of science, ignorance, and mythology to prop up their arguments".
Stormfront presents itself as engaged in a struggle for unity, identifying culture, speech and free association as its core concerns, though members of Stormfront are especially passionate about racial purity. It promotes a lone wolf mentality, linking to white nationalist theorist Louis Beam's influential work on leaderless resistance and offering a sympathetic assessment of Benjamin Nathaniel Smith, a white supremacist who committed suicide after a racially motivated killing spree in June 1999. Violet Jones notes that Stormfront credits its mission to "the founding myth of an America created, built, and ideologically grounded by the descendants of white Europeans." Don Black has specifically compared his views to those of the Founding Fathers, who he asserts "did not believe that an integrated black and white society was possible in America." Asked in 2008 by an interviewer for Italian newspaper la Repubblica whether Stormfront was a 21st-century version of the Ku Klux Klan without the iconography, Black responded affirmatively, though he noted that he would never say so to an American journalist.
In addition to its promotion of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, Stormfront has increasingly become active in its propagation of Islamophobia.