LOS ANGELES (CN) - A successful businessman and investor claims in court that his own brother used his name to post sexist and racist content on two websites and then tried to sell him the sites for $750,000.
Joseph Sanberg sued Rick Sanberg on Nov. 21 in Federal Court.
On his own Web page, Joseph Sanberg describes himself as an entrepreneur who founded two financial services companies after he left Blackstone Private Equity Group and Tiger Global Management, where he was a managing director. He also is a philanthropist: chairman of the board of the Jefferson Awards Foundation, which honors community service, and he founded a program to help high school students learn Mandarin and visit China.
In his lawsuit, Sanberg says, he was "saddened and disappointed" to learn that his brother defamed him by posting "highly offensive, sexist, racist and/or derogatory" blog entries at the websites Joesanberg.com and Josephsanberg.com.
Sanberg says his brother registered both websites. Neither site was accessible online on Monday.
Joe Sanberg also claims in the lawsuit that he is the only person in the United States named Joe Sanberg, and one of only two named Joseph Sanberg, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Because of his public profile as a businessman, speaker and philanthropist, Sanberg says, his brother's websites damaged his business relationships and "philanthropic endeavors."
The complaint cites three blog entries, one of them railing against "gender discrimination against men," and one criticizing British actress Emma Watson for giving a speech as Goodwill Ambassador on gender equality at the United Nations, calling her a "rich privileged white woman who has never faced diversity."
Sanberg says when he put in a bid for the domains through hosting site GoDaddy so he could take the sites down, the website told him that the registrant wanted $350,000 for one name and $400,000 for the other.
Joe Sanberg said it required some research to find out that his brother Rick owned the offending domains.
"The fact that it was plaintiff's own brother who intentionally took such steps makes such horrific actions ... even that more painful and troubling," the lawsuit states.
Joe Sanberg seeks an injunction and damages for cyberpiracy, false light and defamation.
He is represented by Eric Rans, with Michelman & Robinson, of Irvine.
Update: Plaintiff Joseph Sanberg voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit on Feb. 3, 2015, according to a court document sent to Courthouse News by his representative Ricki Seidman.