Jan. 6 Convict Sues Parler For Banning Him

Despite pleading guilty to interstate threats, he’s suing the platform for $370 million.

Troy Smocks is suing Parler for $370 million. Credit: Getty Images/Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket

Troy Smocks, who was sentenced to 14 months in prison following threats he posted on now-offline conservative platform Parler, is suing Parler for $370 million(opens in a new tab).

Parler banned Smocks after calling for violence in the wake of the insurrection on January 6, 2021. “Over the next 24 hours, I would say lets [sic] get our personal affairs in order. Prepare our weapons, and then go get’em,” he posted on January 7. “Lets hunt these cowards down like the Traitors that each of them are. This includes RINOS, Dems, and Tech Execs. We now have the green light.”

In October 2021, Smocks pled guilty(opens in a new tab) to a felony count of making interstate threats, and was convicted. Now, as first reported by Gizmodo, Smocks is suing Parler(opens in a new tab) for banning him following the comments. The complaint claims Parler banned him for his political views and support of Donald Trump, violating a Texas law(opens in a new tab) that prohibits platforms from banning users based on political beliefs. Specifically, he is suing Parler, former CEO John Matze, and right-wing billionaire Rebekah Mercer(opens in a new tab), who co-founded the platform.

The lawsuit doesn’t make mention of the threats Smocks made on Parler, and the Texas law cited makes an exception for speech that “directly incites criminal activity or consists of specific threats of violence,” Gizmodo reports.

Matze told Gizmodo he hasn’t been officially served in the lawsuit and hadn’t heard of Smocks before the case. He said, “From what I read, I feel like he is having trouble accepting his own life choices and is looking to put the blame on others.”

Anna Iovine is the sex and relationships reporter at Mashable, where she covers topics ranging from dating apps to pelvic pain. Previously, she was a social editor at VICE and freelanced for publications such as Slate and the Columbia Journalism Review. Follow her on Twitter @annaroseiovine(opens in a new tab).

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