In the span of about six hours yesterday, The New York Times announced the hiring of Quinn Norton as a tech columnist and then apparently fired her. The Times claims that their decision to “go their separate ways” was guided by “new information,” revealed through a social-media maelstrom, about slurs Norton had used on Twitter and about her friendship with someone called weev. In October, Norton called weev “a terrible person, and an old friend of mine.” The rest of the world calls him a Nazi.
weev’s given name is Andrew Auernheimer. As Luke O’Brien reported for The Atlantic in December, Auernheimer is a white supremacist, Nazi, and internet troll who’s the webmaster for The Daily Stormer, which O’Brien called “the world’s biggest neo-Nazi website.” In August 2017, Auernheimer moved The Daily Stormer to the dark web after Google and GoDaddy refused to host it. Around the same time, Twitter banned several accounts associated with The Daily Stormer. Auernheimer himself was banned from Twitter in December 2016.
Auernheimer got involved with The Daily Stormer in 2014, after he was released from federal prison on identity-theft and hacking charges and living in Europe. Andrew Anglin, who was the focus of O’Brien’s story and who founded The Daily Stormer, said of Auernheimer in 2016, “I don’t know what I would be doing if it wasn’t for him ... He’s the one basically holding the whole thing together.”