Elon Musk has been on something of a suing spree lately, but on Monday Twitter’s new owner was hit with a fresh inbound lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Musk defamed a California man after the owner of X (formerly Twitter) claimed that the recent college graduate was a federal agent operating undercover with a neo-Nazi organization in the Pacific Northwest.
Members of the group, known as the Rose City Nationalists, had their masks removed during a scuffle at an LGBTQ pride event in Oregon. When footage from the event appeared online, some X users incorrectly identified one of men involved in the incident as Benjamin Brody, a 22-year-old who belonged to a Jewish fraternity and previously remarked on the fraternity’s website that he wanted a job with the government.
Musk amplified the false claims on X at the time, describing the incident — and Brody’s purported involvement — as a “probably false flag situation.” When Musk waded into the false conspiracy theory, his massive presence on the platform resulted in a deluge of hate toward Brody. According to the lawsuit, Brody and his family were “repeatedly doxed and suffered an enormous wave of harassment from belligerent strangers.”
“Two weeks after Musk’s statements, it was apparent to Ben that his reputation had been catastrophically damaged and that a huge number of people believed he was either a neo-Nazi or a provocateur involved in a deceptive “psyop” to commit political terrorism,” the lawsuit reads.
This isn’t the first time Musk has been sued for defamation over careless and inflammatory remarks. British cave diver Vernon Unsworth sued Musk for calling him a “pedo guy” during a heated back-and-forth centered on the 2018 rescue operation to save kids trapped in a cave in Thailand. Musk ultimately triumphed in court in 2019.
The lawsuit is being led by Mark Bankston, the same lawyer who famously took Alex Jones to task in court after the right-wing media figure spread Sandy Hook conspiracies for years. Jones lost a flurry of defamation cases and ultimately was ordered to pay the surviving families of Sandy Hook victims more than a billion dollars in damages.
“Today, I am proud to announce I have filed suit against yet another notorious disseminator of false information: The owner of this platform, Elon Musk,” Bankston wrote in a long thread on X. “Musk will not stop until someone stops him. It seems that responsibility now falls upon a shy 22-year-old whose life has been shaken by Musk’s reckless conduct.”