Elon Musk is up against a defamation suit over retweeting a right-wing extremist’s post (Photo by John Anderson)
The same attorney who won the $45 million Sandy Hook defamation lawsuit against Alex Jones last year is accusing Elon Musk of slander.
Mark Bankston sued Musk in Travis County this Monday on behalf of Ben Brody, a Jewish man who says he was forced to flee his home after Musk falsely identified him as a federal agent who had infiltrated a group of neo-Nazis.
“In yet another example of Elon Musk’s serial pattern of slander, he falsely told the world that Ben Brody participated in a violent street brawl on behalf of a neo-Nazi extremist group,” Bankston writes in his lawsuit. “Musk made these ridiculously false and damaging accusations based on a tweet he had seen from an anonymous far-right extremist Twitter account. After amplifying the claim for two days, Musk personally leveled these accusations against Ben Brody, and it has led to severe personal harassment and permanent damage to his reputation.”
The violent street brawl Bankston referenced occurred in June, when masked neo-Nazis calling themselves the Rose City Nationalists joined a group of Proud Boys who had traveled from Portland to Oregon City to disrupt the community’s Pride Night Fest. The Proud Boys threatened the outnumbered Rose City Nationalists and beat a still-unidentified member of the group, pulling off his mask. Afterward, fascist apologists took to X (then Twitter) to recast the fight as a “false flag situation,” accusing the unmasked man, who they identified as Brody, of being a federal agent. Musk piled on in a post that he still hasn’t taken down.
Brody is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Musk. His lawsuit explains that after video of the fight was posted to X, a white nationalist “shitposting” account by the name of Dr Frensor shared Brody’s personal information, drawing from his Jewish fraternity’s social media page. Bankston described the account: “‘Dr Frensor’ typically features extreme rightwing memes, neo-Nazi apologia/nostalgia, juvenile and cringe-worthy attempts at bigoted humor, low effort bait tweets, delusional panics over lazy hoaxes, and a cavalcade of absurdly false information. The account is the social media equivalent of gutter sludge.”
Hours after Dr Frensor’s post, Musk referred to it as “very odd,” implicitly accepting it as truthful. He did not correct the record after posters tweeted that the unmasked Nazi was not Brody. Brody posted an Instagram video in which he offered proof that he was in California at the time of the brawl, and posters made Musk aware of this as well.
The next day, the account ZeroHedge – which the lawsuit notes had promoted the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory alongside Alex Jones – posted a tweet titled, “Patriot Front ‘White Supremacist’ Unmasked As Suspected Fed.” The post included a description of the Proud Boys attack on two neo-Nazis the day before and named Brody as one of them. Musk decided to reply to the tweet, writing, ““Looks like one is a college student (who wants to join the govt) and another is maybe an Antifa member, but nonetheless a probable false flag situation.”
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