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Ireland court allows X employee to pursue defamation claims against Elon Musk: report

Kali Hays   

Ireland court allows X employee to pursue defamation claims against Elon Musk: report
  • Last fall, Musk let go of X employees working on moderation efforts.
  • One employee in Ireland now claims that a Musk tweet criticizing his team's work is defamatory.

An X employee is pursuing legal defamation claims against Elon Musk.

Lawyers for Aaron Rodericks, who remained with Twitter after Musk acquired the platform and eventually renamed it X, received permission Monday from an Irish court to serve Musk related to the defamation claims, according to an RTE report, the country's major news outlet and broadcaster.

Rodericks previously worked for Twitter as a leader of its threat disruption team, focused on combatting misinformation on the platform. He and other trust and safety workers were let go last fall in a continuation of months of layoffs that saw several thousand Twitter workers part ways with the company due to Musk's extreme cost-cutting measures.

Rodericks is technically suspended from his employment with the company, given that he successfully sued X for an injunction that stopped his outright termination in a separate court proceeding in Ireland, where he is based, according to reports. In that case, Rodericks claims his proposed firing was a "sham" based on his alleged engagement with tweets critical of Musk.

At issue in the new defamation claims is a tweet from Musk after those fall layoffs, which eliminated Rodericks's team that focused on election integrity. In response to media reporting of the layoffs, Musk wrote on the platform: "Oh you mean the 'Election Integrity' Team that was undermining election integrity? Yeah, they're gone."

That comment from Musk "clearly refers," to Rodericks, his counsel said in court Monday, RTE reported. Rodericks was one of the few employees left working on election integrity.

Rodericks now claims that Musk's post wrongly implies "he was undermining Election Integrity, had acted in an unlawful manner, that he was incompetent and had been removed from his employment." Thus causing damage to "his good name and reputation," according to the RTE report.

Although lawyers for Rodericks said in court that he wrote to Musk directly, "asking him to have the tweet removed and to put forward an offer to make amends," he has received no response. The tweet at issue remains up as of Monday. Rodericks also wrote to Twitter's Ireland-based unit to remove the tweet, which responded that it didn't breach the platform's rules and denied liability, according to the RTE report.

Now, lawyers for Rodericks can move forward with serving a court summons to Musk.

Neither Rodericks or an X spokesperson replied to requests for comment.

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