Several prominent right-wing conspiracy theorists were hit with a lawsuit Tuesday by a man who said his life was ruined after he became the subject of numerous “baseless” theories connecting him to the deadly Charlottesville rally last year.
In the suit filed in a Virginia court on Tuesday, Brennan Gilmore alleged that his business, career as a diplomat, and personal relationships were all damaged after he posted a video of a white nationalist driving a car into a crowd of counter protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.
After capturing the incident on his phone, the former state department staffer shared the video on Twitter with the caption: “Video of car hitting anti-racist protesters. Let there be no confusion: this was deliberate terrorism. My prayers with the victims. Stay home.”
He subsequently became the scapegoat for far-right conspiracy-focused sites including InfoWars, The Gateway Pundit, and journalists including a reporter for Kremlin-owned outlet RT, all alleging that the deadly car wreck was a setup, and that Gilmore knew about it in advance because of his ties to the State Department.
“All Mr. Gilmore had done was share the truth about the tragic and traumatic act he regrettably witnessed,” the complaint said. “For a man who has devoted his life to serving his local community, the Commonwealth, the United States, and the global community, Defendants’ absurdly false portrayal of him, and the harassment that followed, was devastating.”
The lawsuit, which seeks $75,000 in damages, specifically named InfoWars founder Alex Jones, Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft, and former Breitbart News and current RT reporter Lee Stranahan, as well as former Rep. Allen West, whose website and social-media platforms routinely publish far-right content.
The complaint alleged that the right-wing outlets quickly attempted to paint Gilmore as a “deep state shill with links to George Soros,” and that the video was part of a “coordinated, not spontaneous” attempt to damage the right, and indirectly, President Donald Trump.
“One guy is paid 320,000 a year on the payroll of Soros,” Jones said in a video in August, referencing Gilmore. “He doesn’t just get money from Soros, he personally is paid 320 a year, and then he is there—CIA, State Department—and he is on the news. And when people pointed out who he was, they took his name of the State Department website and stuff, but Google has all the [screen] shots of it. I mean it’s like WOW, WOW—CIA?”
Gilmore said he was accosted on the street, and he received a powdery substance in the mail with a letter claiming he would “burn in hell.” He and his family were promptly doxxed and threatened, and internet users attempted to log into his email and social-media accounts.
“Fact-based journalism is essential to our democracy, because it provides citizens with objective, reality-based information on issues of public concern,” the complaint said. “Defendants are not fact-based journalists. Defendants spread lies to construct false narratives that terrify a gullible audience, all in a desperate attempt to generate revenue and momentum for a hateful agenda.”