Jewish man sues Musk for amplifying false claim linking him to neo-Nazi group

Tech CEO engaged with X users promoting conspiracy that Benjamin Brody, 22, was involved in clash at Oregon Pride Festival, terming it a ‘probable false flag situation’

Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisco, January 24, 2023. (Benjamin Fanjoy/AP)
Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisco, January 24, 2023. (Benjamin Fanjoy/AP)

A California man who says he was harassed after Elon Musk amplified posts on his social media platform X that falsely placed the man at a confrontation involving far-right protesters sued the billionaire for defamation in a lawsuit filed Monday.

Benjamin Brody, 22, is represented by Mark Bankston, a Texas attorney who won a defamation case last year against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in a lawsuit brought by families of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Brody is seeking a jury trial in Austin, Texas, and unspecified damages of at least $1 million.

Attorneys for Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment left through a spokesperson.

In June, a video posted to X showed a confrontation involving protesters near a Pride festival in Oregon. Some of those involved wore the same colors as the Proud Boys extremist group, according to The Oregonian. On X, some users falsely identified one of the participants as Brody, highlighting his post-college plans to work for the government, to spread baseless assertions that federal agents were involved.

Brody, who is Jewish, was accused of belonging to a neo-Nazi group that splintered off the Proud Boys, according to The Huffington Post news site, which posted a copy of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit includes screenshots of Musk engaging with users spreading the posts involving Brody, including one in which Musk described it as a “probable false flag situation.”

A tweet by Elon Musk, seen on October 3, 2023. (Screen capture: X)

Brody, a recent college graduate who said he was in California when the event happened, came under harassment because of Musk’s reach, according to the lawsuit.

The posts by Musk were still on X as of Monday.

It is not the first time Musk has been sued for defamation. He defeated a lawsuit in 2019 from a British cave explorer who claimed he was branded a pedophile when the Tesla CEO called him “pedo guy” on what was then called Twitter.

Musk’s tech company has also taken others to court over what is posted on the site. In August, X sued a group of researchers over accusations that their work highlighting an increase in hate speech on the platform cost the company millions of dollars of advertising revenue.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

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