Last year, Brennan Gilmore was living a normal life as a bluegrass musician and Foreign Service officer, but everything changed when he happened to upload a video he took to Twitter. During the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally, Gilmore was using his smartphone to film counter protesters. He personally took footage of a motor vehicle ramming into a large group of protesters. The tragedy led to the death of Heather Heyer and wounded several others.

Gilmore decided to post his recording to Twitter where he called the incident an act of terrorism. His video was spread across social media platforms, and Gilmore was interviewed by several media outlets. The publicity was a bit overwhelming at first, but it quickly turned negative when various media outlets began building a completely fabricated narrative about Gilmore.

The trouble began when Lee Stranahan, an author who previously worked for Breitbart news, spread a narrative that the entire rally was a set up. The story was picked up on Infowars. One writer for Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft, then claimed Gilmore was a “deep-state shill” and likely an undercover CIA officer that helped stage the Charlottesville scene. As the notion began to spread across social media, the situation escalated for Gilmore. Gilmore explains how he was harassed by online conspiracy theorists who sent him hate mail, death threats and attempted to hack into his online accounts. His parent’s real addresses were posed publicly, and someone mailed a white powdery substance to their home.

On March 13, 2018 Gilmore decided to file a defamation lawsuit against Alex Jones, founder of Infowars, and a number of other individuals who spread the false narrative online. Gilmore hopes that his lawsuit will punish “fake” news outlets and hold them accountable for spreading defamatory speech.