A US Jewish man has sued Elon Musk for more than $1 million (£827,815) after the billionaire accused him of being linked to a neo-Nazi organisation.
Ben Brody claims he was harassed after amplified posts on Musk’s social media platform X/Twitter falsely placed him at a confrontation involving far-right protesters on June 24.
A video posted on X/Twitter from the time showed a confrontation involving the infamous Proud Boys and Rose City Nationalists near a Pride festival in Oregon.
During the confrontation, two of the activists’ face masks were removed, causing those on social media to attempt to track down who these people were.
On X/Twitter, some users claimed one of the participants was Brody. Users also falsely claimed he was a federal US government agent.
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."
The post by Musk from June 27, which is still online, says: “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.”
Brody, a recent college graduate, said he was in California when the event happened.
The 22-year-old 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.
Bankston wrote in the lawsuit: “In yet another example of his growing tendency to spread false information, Musk falsely told the world there was evidence indicating Ben Brody participated in a violent street brawl on behalf of a neo-Nazi extremist group.”
He adds: “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 levelled these accusations against Ben Brody, and it has led to severe personal harassment and permanent damage to his reputation.”
Brody is seeking a jury trial in Austin, Texas.
Attorneys for Musk have not yet responded to requests for comment.