British Columbia

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Frank Giustra sues Twitter

Billionaire mining entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Giustra is suing Twitter over tweets going back to 2015.

'Tweets were posted maliciously with an intention to harm the Plaintiff,' lawsuit claims

Businessman Frank Giustra received the Order of BC in 2016. (Government of British Columbia)

Local billionaire businessman and philanthropist Frank Giustra is suing social media platform Twitter. 

He says Twitter allowed tweets to be published about him that were defamatory.

In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the West Vancouver resident outlines a case of organized continuous attacks and spurious unfounded allegations and innuendo about his character.

Giustra is the CEO of Fiore Group of companies and the founder of Lionsgate Entertainment and a well known philanthropist.

He received the Order of B.C. in 2016.

Many of the alleged defamatory tweets cite his ongoing relationship with the Clinton Foundation and dovetail with Hillary Clinton's presidential run.

They range in date from June 2015 to April 1, 2019.

Tweets included death threats

The tweets included death threats and what Giustra says are unproven allegations that he was "corrupt" and "criminal" and involved in discredited conspiracy theories.

The claim says Giustra contacted Twitter to remove the defamatory and malicious tweets. Twitter removed some of them.

Frank Giustra and former US President Bill Clinton at the podium during a Clinton Foundation event news conference in New York in June 2007. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

But the claim states: "Twitter has neglected or refused to remove and continues to publish a large number of false, defamatory, abusive and threatening tweets ..."

The claim says the tweets have damaged Giustra's  business relationships and interests and have resulted in "significant emotional distress and anxiety" for himself and his family.

Safety of his family

Giustra's lawyer, Fred Kozak, says it had a significant impact on his life, including his philanthropic and business interests and, more importantly, concern for the safety of his family.

The claim accuses Twitter of "reckless disregard for the emotional distress suffered by the Plaintiff" and claims it constitutes harassment.

Kozak says the suit is part of a "growing awareness that Twitter and other platforms should be more proactive and take greater responsibility to ensure that banned content is not published at all."

The suit was filed in Canada, because, in the United States, platforms like Twitter are protected by the Communications Decency Act which grants them immunity from prosecution for what is published by others.

The suit asks that Twitter permanently delete, remove,cease and prevent publication of the tweets.  It further asks for a mandatory prohibition of material defamatory to Giustra, plus general damages and legal costs.

Twitter has yet to file a statement of defence.

Frank Giustra is out of the country and was not available for comment.