A Portland activist who regularly confronts the Vancouver, Wash.-based right-wing organization Patriot Prayer is suing the group's leader Joey Gibson for defamation in a $161,000 lawsuit filed May 31.
Luis Marquez, a prominent figure in left-wing rallies and antifascist demonstrations, says Gibson defamed him in online videos that attack Marquez's reputation and incite violence against him.
"I've had to move out of my house in the last month due to threats that have increased," Marquez says. "We have seen people trying to raise money to beat up the molester Luis. I'm no longer able to walk by myself. It's been a nightmare."
The complaint details a video recorded last year in which Gibson claimed Marquez is a "pedophile" without offering any evidence to support the allegation. Gibson ended the June 8, 2018 video with a challenge: "I don't care," he says. "Bring the slander lawsuit."
Marquez's lawsuit says Gibson has no evidence to support his defamatory claim.
"Mr. Gibson cannot prove the truth of the matters asserted against Mr.
Marquez in this video, and in his other statements alleging that Mr. Marquez is a pedophile," the lawsuit says.
Marquez has been arrested at protests in the past on misdemeanor charges, for failing to obey police orders once for taking a right-wing protester's hat. He faces a misdemeanor harassment charge for getting into a scuffle with a Patriot Prayer supporter on a bike in May 2018. He has faced no other criminal charges in Oregon, according to court records.
Although Gibson has not faced criminal charges for his actions in Portland, some of his followers have. Police and prosecutors have been slow to charge right-wing extremists for participating in riots and assaulting people, but two men who regularly marched with Gibson are now facing felony assault charges.
Gibson's Patriot Prayer has staged demonstrations that often turn violent in Portland since early 2017. He told WW in 2017 his goal was to bait antifascists, or Antifa, into fights with police or his right-wing followers, some of whom belong to hate groups like the Proud Boys.
Marquez's lawsuit is the second civil suit filed against Gibson in May. A Portland cidery and pub sued the right-wing agitator for sparking a riot outside the business on May 1, after Gibson's supporters failed to entice antifascists to fight during protests earlier that day.
Gibson did not return a request for comment on the lawsuit.