(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Does falsely accusing someone of being a federal agent-provocateur constitute defamation?
Elon Musk is putting that question to the test. He’s refusing to settle a lawsuit filed by someone whom he falsely suggested was an undercover agent embedded in a group affiliated with the white nationalist organization Patriot Front.
The lawsuit stems from an incident in June, when the self-described Western chauvinist Proud Boys and the neo-Nazi Rose City Nationalists both showed up to protest a Pride event in Oregon. The two groups made headlines when they wound up fighting each other instead.
Proud Boys beating Nazi ass in Oregon City!!!% POYB !!!% F Rose City Nationalist F Patriot Front !!!% this is Patriot Territory pic.twitter.com/OF8RwVqzE2
— ErikRohde III% (@ErikIsland3) June 25, 2023
The well-publicized scuffle resulted in at least two members of the Rose City Nationalists being unmasked. One of the unmasked members was likely Casey James Knuteson, a former Proud Boy and current member of the Patriot Front—a group suspected by many MAGA activists of being heavily infiltrated by the FBI or other federal agents.
Internet sleuths were also quick to identify one of the unmasked neo-Nazis as Ben Brody, a political science student at UC Riverside in San Fernando Valley.
Twitter owner Elon Musk even got into the mix.
“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,” Musk said, responding to a now-deleted Zerohedge post about how Brody was a “unmasked as a suspected fed.”
But by all accounts, Brody was not the unmasked neo-Nazi.
Brody is now suing Musk for amplifying the conspiracy about him, which he claims has ruined his life.
“Ben and his family’s experience of seeing him defamed by one of the powerful men on earth warped their entire sense of reality, leaving them stunned, confused, and afraid,” stated his lawsuit, which was filed last month in a Texas district court.
“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.”
According to the lawsuit, Musk has refused to retract his accusation or delete his tweets.
Brody’s lawyer, Mark Bankston, is the same attorney who successfully sued Infowars host Alex Jones over his claims about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
In the lawsuit, Bankston also cited the case of Ray Epps, a Jan. 6 provocateur who has been accused of being a government asset. Epps, who was charged with misdemeanor trespassing for his actions earlier this year, is also suing Fox News over those claims.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.