PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a recently filed Texas lawsuit, Elon Musk is accused of misrepresenting a California man as a federal employee who posed as a right-wing protester at a Portland-area rally.
The court documents detail an event held on June 24, in which Oregon City held its first-ever Pride Night. On that same day, the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, hosted a protest in the same area.
KOIN 6 previously reported that the rally led to a clash between the Proud Boys and counter-protesters. According to the complaint filed in Texas’ Travis County District Court, those counter-protesters were members of fellow far-right group the Rose City Nationalists.
“Some members of the Rose City Nationalists are former Proud Boys whose nakedly neo-Nazi rhetoric was viewed as an optics problem by Proud Boys leadership,” the documents read. “As such, relations between the groups are hostile.”
The complaint alleged that tensions escalated during the protest, which resulted in Proud Boys members removing the masks of two Rose City Nationalists.
When video of the incident circulated on X, the platform formally known as Twitter, social media users identified one of the members as Los Angeles County resident and recent University of California, Riverside graduate Benjamin Brody.
X users then recovered social media profiles and posts from Brody and his college fraternity, which indicated that he was a political science student with intentions to work in the government after graduation.
In a video posted later on June 26, Brody asserted that he had been misidentified. To clear his name, the plaintiff said he had never been to Oregon City and he wasn’t a member of right-wing group Patriot Front.
According to the lawsuit, he also shared debit card receipts and store camera footage to confirm that he was in Riverside, Calif., during the rally.
Following Brody’s video, and posts from several X users proclaiming his innocence, Musk shared another post about the plaintiff’s supposed attendance at the Oregon City event.
The criminal complaint against Musk claimed that his actions have led to the harassment of Brody and his family, whose “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.”
The documents also alleged that Musk was notified of the defamation case on Aug. 9, but he refused to retract his statement or delete his social media posts.
“In fact, Musk’s attorney indicated that Musk would seek fee shifting if Ben attempts to hold Musk accountable in court,” the complaint said. “In other words, if this 22-year-old victim tries to seek redress in court for what happened to him, he must risk having the wealthiest man on the planet seek to collect fees against him.”
Brody is seeking $1 million in damages.
KOIN 6 has reached out to Musk for comment but hasn’t heard back.