Mayor Marty Walsh Being Sued For $100M Over ‘Slanderous Statements’ Made Ahead of Boston Free Speech Rally

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/10/25/mayor-marty-walsh-being-sued-for-100m-over-slanderous-statements-made-ahead-of-boston-free-speech-rally/

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is facing a $100 million lawsuit filed by a Lowell man who claims his livelihood was ruined and his reputation was tarnished after hizzoner labeled potential speakers invited to August’s “Free Speech Rally” as white supremacists.

The plaintiff, Brandon Navom, was slated to speak at the event but elected to skip it. Navom claims he was fired from his software job after an “Internet hate mob” tracked him down as he had previously been identified as an event speaker.

 

 

 

Navom, however, apparently attended the rally but went as a counterprotester:

Walsh had vociferously opposed the August event. Navom’s Pittsfield-based attorney, Rinaldo Del Gallo III, filed the lawsuit in Berkshire Superior Court. Del Gallo, speaking on Navom’s behalf, has said he filed the lawsuit in western Massachusetts in an effort to establish neutrality.

“Our complaint outlines the numerous slanderous statements made by the mayor of Boston, and shows that a wealth of information that was available on the Internet showing that the organizers, speakers and attendees were not white supremacists or members of hate groups,” Del Gallo said in a prepared statement issued after the filing of the lawsuit. “It is literally laughable to think the mayor did not know that the speakers were not white supremacists. I believe the Mayor was purposefully lying or was grotesquely incompetent. But at the very best the mayor’s comments represents a wanton, callous and reckless disregard for the truth.”

Del Gallo continued:

“The Mayor’s numerous slanderous statements were a grotesque display of virtue signaling for political gain for an upcoming election, with an egregious indifference to the truth. While such posturing might help Mayor Marty Walsh at the polls, it put the city of Boston through needless expense and wrongfully tarnished the reputation of Brandon Navom.”

Navom, upon losing his job, launched a GoFundMe page on August 17, ahead of the Common rally.

Navom said he originally agreed to speak at the rally but only in the capacity as Republican Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai’s introducer. 

“I very quickly verbally accepted this opportunity to speak in support of the man I admire,” Navom wrote. “When I agreed to what I thought it would benign event filled with boring speeches, there was no way I could have foreseen that the tragic and horrific events that occurred over this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, would occur. I, of course, immediately condemned those horrific attacks. Yet I immediately found myself at the center of a maelstrom of hate.”  

Navom later mentioned the irony in his being labeled as a “white supremacist” over his initial decision to introduce Ayyadurai, a decision he described as “my efforts to bring more diversity to the U.S. Senate by supporting a person of color.” 

Navom at the time tried to disqualify any comparisons between Charlottesville and Boston.

“Even though they are different events with different titles, organized by different organizers, and have a different subject matter, CNN  falsely reported that  these two events were organized by the same hateful people,” he wrote. “The only two things that these events have in common is that they had the unfortunate circumstance of being scheduled a week apart and a few hundred miles removed from one another. 

“Mayor Walsh repeated the false CNN rumor, which sent a torrent of hate in my direction.”

Navom then described how he learned had lost his job:

“I was clothes shopping with my daughter on a Sunday afternoon when my employer called me. They said they were made aware that I was a listed speaker on a free-speech rally that was to occur on the next weekend, and that this action was why they were firing me. I tried to tell them that this was a big misunderstanding, and that I was only speaking for the right of free expression for all peoples.”

Navom later recalled his situation during a podcast interview:

He recalled being called by his employer, a day after the Charlottesville tragedy.

“They said I would receive no severance, and I was fired,” Navom told host Tom Woods.

Navom also recalled how individuals used social media to demand his firing, and later “doxxed” — or attempted to publicize — his home address and phone numbers. In a curious twist, Navom said he actually reached out to a blogger named Bethany who had been particularly hostile to him. 

“We had a really great productive conversation and I decided that I was going to pull out of the event because I thought it was the right and respectful thing to do, and I was actually going to work with her to get the event postponed,” Navom said.

As for Walsh, the mayor told reporters Wednesday that he “doesn’t know much about” Navom’s lawsuit and explained that he was not notified of it yesterday as he was busy preparing for a debate against mayoral challenger Tito Jackson. Del Gallo filed the lawsuit Tuesday.

“I read about it in the paper today,” Walsh said. “There’s not much I can say about it.

“We’ll see what happens but I’m not going to get into the particulars on what it is or what it’s about, I’ll let our legal team respond to that.”

Pressed further on his original opposition to the rally and his apparent labeling of speakers like Navom as members of hate groups, Walsh said he’s “not sure what that’s about.”

Walsh later referred to the controversial march in Charlottesville that occurred one week before the rally on the Common, which resulted in the death of a protester after an Ohio man identified as belonging to a white supremacist group drove his car into a crowd of protesters blocking a city street.

“Dozens and dozens of people were hurt and we’ve seen a lot of violence in this country,” Walsh said, before also  linking the issue to the mass shooting that occurred earlier this month in Las Vegas. “I mean we want to make sure people are safe, that’s the bottom line.”

“Some were concerned about the free speech rally and we’re going to leave it at that.”

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