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'Satirical' Antifa Events Spark Angry Lawsuit

Activist John Merrifield says his social-media events were satirical
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2020 2:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Louisiana native who posted fake antifa events online is being sued for his efforts, the Advocate reports. Lafayette city-parish government sued John Merrifield on Monday, saying his pranks forced law enforcement to investigate and respond to the purported antifascist gatherings. But Merrifield insists his social-media posts are about satire, protest, and activism: "It's to expose how out-of-order their priorities are in regards to how they protect the rich versus how they protect the poor," he says. He points to the "extrajudicial killing of Trayford Pellerin"—a Black man killed by police as he tried to enter a convenience store—as an issue "that matters to people. People want answers, and the city is being very dismissive of that."

The lawsuit says one fake event, "ANTIFA takes River Ranch," triggered a counter-protest by Right Side Millennial, a flood of phone calls to lawmakers, and forced the government "to take responsive action." Another post prompted the closure of a mall and the arrival of over 30 police units in the mall parking lot, the suit says. But Merrifield isn't budging: "I'm not going to apologize to the citizens of Lafayette who were gullible enough to fall for a satire event created by a comedy meme page run by a satirist and comedian twice," he tells the Daily Advertiser. The suit is seeking damages of under $75,000, but Merrifield, now a New York City resident, says he only has $300 "and they can have it." He says his goal is to get Louisiana officials voted out of office. (Read more antifa stories.)

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