One of the internet’s oldest white supremacist websites is on the brink of financial ruin, its owners say.
Stormfront.org has been an internet hate hub since it launched in 1996. Its owner, former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black, said last week that donations had plummeted and that the site was scaling back operations. But longtime Stormfront posters suggested Black’s wife had been paying the bills, and that she was finally checking out.
“Our contributions have once again totaled less than $2,000, which is not enough to cover our basic server and radio bills, and this month we no longer have enough personal money to make up the difference,” Black wrote last week in a post first spotted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The plunge in donations follows a decline in web traffic to the site. Though popular with an older generation of KKK members and white supremacists, Stormfront’s outdated design has fallen out of favor with younger neo-Nazis who tend toward sites like the right-wing Twitter clone Gab, and semi-private messaging platforms like Discord.
So far in 2018, Stormfront has fallen more than 5,000 places in the global ranking of most-viewed websites, according to web traffic tracker Alexa.
Black described a plan to shutter the site’s primary server and only allow paying members to access the forum.
“My plan is to shut down the main server on the 6th, backing everything up offsite first. I hope to also move the entire 50gb database to our much smaller, secondary server,” he wrote. “This will be difficult because of the size of this site, and that server is not nearly adequate to run everything. But I hope it will be enough to allow access to Sustaining Members, but probably not to other users or guests.”
But some Stormfront users claimed the cutoff came after Black’s wife Chloe stopped paying the website’s bills.
“Don Black’s wife, Chloe, had been working full time past retirement age to help support this site,” one Stormfront user claimed, with others also claiming Chloe had kept the hate site’s lights on.
“All of the years that Don posted how much was needed to run this site and all the months that SF didn’t receive enough donations. That difference was made up from Chloe Black's income. She is now recently retired and deserves to spend her time with her grandbabies. This situation combined with litigation from when SF was shut down last August, Don has more bills and less revenue to run the site.”
Chloe Black, who could not be reached for comment on Monday, has a long history of involvement in the white supremacist movement. Chloe was previously married to former KKK leader David Duke, whom she met at a White Youth Alliance college gathering in the 1970s, and later divorced him to marry Black, another former KKK leader and neo-Nazi who was convicted in 1981 of attempting an armed overthrow of the predominantly black island nation of Dominica.
While Chloe has previously distanced herself from Stormfront in written statements, watchers of the site have long speculated that she might be partially bankrolling the project.
“But Don Black — who lives and operates Stormfront out of a house owned entirely by Chloe and valued at about half a million dollars — is apparently unemployed, although he claims to do some Internet consulting work,” the SPLC wrote in 2008, when it was revealed that Chloe had been doing public relations work, including for a school that focused on black and Latino children.
“The website is believed to be at least partly supported by the salary that [Chloe’s former employer] Florida Crystals pays Chloe Black.”
Stormfront also took a hit after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. After a man affiliated with a white supremacist group killed a counterprotester with a car, activists pressured web services to stop doing business with racist sites like Stormfront. The site’s web registrar booted it offline in late August, although it re-emerged with a new registrar in October.
Black isn’t just paying Stormfront’s expenses. A search of web domains registered under his email address reveals he’s squatting on a number of web addresses, at unknown cost to him. Among those addresses is MartinLutherKing.org, MLKing.org, a few URLs with variations on “white nationalism,” and whitesingles.com. The Martin Luther King-related addresses used to host racist content, but now appear defunct after a Daily Beast report earlier this year. Whitesingles.com redirects to Stormfront’s dating page.
Black is also squatting on DerekBlack.com, the name of his son who famously disavowed his family’s racist views after President Donald Trump’s election, and now speaks against white supremacy. From 2010 until 2013, Derek and his father ran “The Derek Black Show,” a radio program Black paid $600 per week to broadcast on AM radio.
The radio program, alone, cost Black thousands of dollars each month, on top of the costs of running Stormfront. Five years later, according to Black’s plea for donations, the white supremacist site doesn’t even generate enough to fund the old radio show.