BOSTON (CBS) – One of the organizers of this summer’s “free speech rally” in Boston is suing Mayor Marty Walsh for slander, claiming Walsh’s comments about the rally cost him his job.
About 40,000 people converged on Boston Common in August to protest what turned out to be a small rally of conservatives and libertarians on the Parkman Bandstand.
The rally came in the aftermath of a clash in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to violence between protesters and white supremacists.
Attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo filed a lawsuit this week on behalf of Brandon Navom, who helped organize the free speech rally.
The lawsuit alleges that Walsh made slanderous statements that the event organizers and speakers were white supremacists and hate group members.
In the lawsuit, Del Gallo says Navom lost his software consulting job and was harassed as a result of Walsh’s comments.
“The mayor’s actions were beyond just careless. They were not only made with reckless abandon, but they also resulted directly in me losing my job,” said Navom on Wednesday.
Walsh would not comment specifically about the lawsuit, but spoke about the rally on Wednesday.
“When that conversation came to Boston, we were concerned about what happened the week before in Charlottesvile,” said Walsh. “We were very clear that we weren’t going to have an incident like that where someone lost their life. Dozens and dozens of people were hurt, and we’ve seen a lot of violence in this country.”
Walsh said he did not remember if he previously called the free speech event a “white supremacist rally.”
“I don’t know. You’d have to go back and look at the tape, but certainly we were concerned about the free speech rally,” Walsh said.
Del Gallo, however, claim’s that Walsh’s comments were damaging to Navom.
“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,” Del Gallo said in a statement. “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.”