Alexander Emerick Jones (born February 11, 1974) is an American far-right[10] and alt-right[11] radio show host and prominent[a] conspiracy theorist.[25] He hosts The Alex Jones Show from Austin, Texas, which the Genesis Communications Network broadcasts[26] across the United States (syndicated and internet radio).[27] Jones's website, InfoWars, promotes conspiracy theories and fake news,[28][29][30] as do his other websites NewsWars and PrisonPlanet. Jones has provided a platform and support for white nationalists, giving Unite the Right attendee and white supremacist Nick Fuentes a platform on his website Banned.Video, as well as serving as an "entry point" to their ideology.[31][32][33][34]

Alex Jones
Alex Jones Portrait (cropped).jpg
Jones in 2017
Born
Alexander Emerick Jones

(1974-02-11) February 11, 1974 (age 48)
OccupationRadio host
Known for
Spouses
  • Kelly Jones
    (m. 2007; div. 2015)
  • Erika Wulff
    (m. 2017)
Children4
Signature
Alex Jones Signature.svg

The conspiracy theories promoted by Jones alleged that the United States government either concealed information about or outright falsified the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks, and the 1969 Moon landing.[35] He has claimed that several governments and big businesses have colluded to create a "New World Order" through "manufactured economic crises, sophisticated surveillance tech and—above all—inside-job terror attacks that fuel exploitable hysteria".[36]

A longtime critic of Republican and Democratic foreign and security policy, Jones supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid and continued to support him as a savior from an alleged criminal bipartisan cabal controlling the federal government, despite falling out over several of Trump's policies including airstrikes against the Assad regime.[37][38][39] A staunch supporter of Trump's reelection, Jones supported the false claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election and, on January 6, 2021, was a speaker at a rally in Lafayette Square Park supporting Trump, preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.[40]

In 2022, for Jones' defamatory falsehoods about the Sandy Hook shooting, juries in Connecticut and Texas have awarded $965 million and $50 million in damages respectively from Jones to families of Sandy Hook shooting victims and a first responder; they had alleged that Jones' lies led to them being threatened and harassed for years.[41][42][43] On November 10, 2022, in the second defamation case in Connecticut, a judge awarded the eight families a further $473 million in punitive damages in the form of lawyers’ fees bringing the total to over $1.4 billion. The judge also issued an order that he was “not to transfer, encumber, dispose or move his assets out of the United States until further order of the court.”[44]

Early life and influences

Jones was born on February 11, 1974,[45][46] in Dallas, Texas, and was raised in the suburb of Rockwall. His father was a dentist[47] and his mother was a homemaker.[48] He claims Irish, German, Welsh, English, and Comanche descent.[49][50] The family moved to Austin in Jones's sophomore year of high school. He attended Anderson High School, where he played football and graduated in 1993.[48] After graduating, Jones briefly attended Austin Community College before dropping out.[51]

As a teenager, he read None Dare Call It Conspiracy, a book by John Birch Society conspiracy theorist Gary Allen, which alleged global bankers controlled American politics rather than elected officials.[52] It had a profound influence on him, and Jones has described Allen's work as "the easiest-to-read primer on The New World Order".[53]

Waco siege and Oklahoma bombing

The Waco siege at the Branch Davidian complex near Waco, Texas, had an impact on Jones. It ended in April 1993, near the end of Jones's senior year of high school, with a substantial fire and a significant number of fatalities. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these events "only confirmed his belief in the inexorable progress of unseen, malevolent forces". It was at this time he started to host a call-in show on public access television (PACT/ACTV) in Austin.[13]

The Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, was intended by perpetrator Timothy McVeigh as a response to the federal involvement in the botched resolution of the Waco siege on its second anniversary.[13][54] Jones began accusing the federal government of having caused it: "I understood there's a kleptocracy working with psychopathic governments—clutches of evil that know the tricks of control".[55] He did not believe the bombing had been the responsibility of McVeigh and his associate Terry Nichols.[54] In 1998, he released his first film, America Destroyed by Design.

In 1998, Jones organized a successful campaign to build a new Branch Davidian church as a memorial to those who died during the 1993 fire.[56] He often discussed the project on his public-access television program. He claimed that David Koresh and his followers were peaceful people who were murdered by Attorney General Janet Reno and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms during the siege.[57]

Early broadcasting career

Jones began his career in Austin working on a live, call-in format public-access cable television program.[58] In 1996, Jones switched to radio, hosting a show named The Final Edition on KJFK (98.9 FM).[57] Influenced by radio host William Cooper, who phoned in to Jones's early shows, Jones began to broadcast about the New World Order conspiracy theory at this time.[54]

While running for Congress, Ron Paul was a guest on his show several times.[59] In 1999, Jones tied with Shannon Burke for that year's poll of "Best Austin Talk Radio Host", as voted by readers of The Austin Chronicle.[60] Later that year, he was fired from KJFK-FM for refusing to broaden his topics. The station's operations manager said that Jones's views made it difficult for the station to sell advertising.[57] Jones said:

It was purely political, and it came down from on high [...] I was told 11 weeks ago to lay off [Bill] Clinton, to lay off all these politicians, to not talk about rebuilding the church, to stop bashing the Marines, A to Z.[57]

InfoWars

 
InfoWars logo
 
NewsWars logo

Jones is the publisher and director of the InfoWars fake news website responsible for promoting conspiracy theories.[61][65] InfoWars was originally founded by Alex and Kelly Jones (his then-wife) in about 1999, initially as a mail-order outlet for the sale of their conspiracy-oriented videos.[52] In November 2016, the InfoWars website received approximately 10 million visits, making its reach more extensive than mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek.[66] Another of Jones's websites is PrisonPlanet.com.[14]

The Alex Jones Show

After his firing from KJFK-FM, Jones began to broadcast his own show by Internet connection from his home.[55] In July 2000, a group of Austin Community Access Center (ACAC) radio hosts claimed that Jones had used legal proceedings and ACAC policy to intimidate them or try to get their broadcasts removed.[67] In 2001, Jones's radio show was syndicated on approximately 100 stations.[55]

On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Jones said on his radio show there was a "98 percent chance this was a government-orchestrated controlled bombing."[68] He began promoting the conspiracy theory that the Bush administration was behind the attack.[18] As a result, several stations dropped Jones's program, according to columnist Will Bunch.[69] Jones became a leading figure of the "9/11 truther" cause.[70] In 2010, the show attracted around two million listeners each week.[71] According to Alexander Zaitchik of Rolling Stone magazine, in 2011 Jones had a larger on-line audience than Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh combined.[55] In 2020, The Alex Jones Show was syndicated nationally by the Genesis Communications Network to more than 100 AM and FM radio stations in the United States.[72]

According to journalist Will Bunch, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America,[73][74] the show has a demographic that leans more towards younger listeners than do other conservative pundits, due to Jones's "highly conspiratorial tone and Web-oriented approach". Bunch also stated that Jones "feed[s] on the deepest paranoia".[69]

Jones told The Washington Post in November 2016 that his radio show, then syndicated to 129 stations, had a daily audience of 5 million listeners and his video streams had topped 80 million viewers in a single month.[14]

Website, own-brand and endorsed products

 
Jones with Paul Joseph Watson in 2013

According to court testimony Jones delivered in 2014, InfoWars then had revenues of over $20 million a year.[75]

A 2017 piece for German magazine Der Spiegel by Veit Medick indicated that two-thirds of Jones's funds derive from sales of his own products. These products are marketed through the InfoWars website and through advertising spots on Jones's show. They include dietary supplements, toothpaste, bulletproof vests and "brain pills," which hold "an appeal for anyone who believes Armageddon is near", according to Medick.[76] From September 2015 to the end of 2018, the InfoWars store made $165 million in sales, according to court filings relating to the Sandy Hook lawsuits filed against Jones.[77]

In August 2017, Californian medical company Labdoor, Inc reported on tests applied to six of Jones's dietary supplement products. These included a product named Survival Shield, which was found by Labdoor to contain only iodine, and a product named Oxy-Powder, which comprised a compound of magnesium oxide and citric acid—common ingredients in dietary supplements. Labdoor indicated no evidence of prohibited or harmful substances, but cast doubt on the marketing claims for these products, and asserted that the quantity of the ingredients in certain products would be "too low to be appropriately effective".[78][79][80]

On a 2017 segment of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver stated that Jones spends "nearly a quarter" of his on-air time promoting products sold on his website, many of which are purported solutions to medical and economic problems claimed to be caused by the conspiracy theories described on his show.[81][82]

Jones continued this behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Jones was issued a cease and desist from the Attorney General of New York, after he claimed, in the absence of any evidence, that products he sold, including colloidal silver toothpaste, were an effective treatment for COVID-19.[83][84][85] The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also sent him a letter on April 9, 2020, warning that the federal government might proceed to seize the products he was marketing for COVID-19 or fine him if he continued to sell them.[86] A disclaimer then appeared on Jones's website, stating his products were not intended for treating "the novel coronavirus". On a linked page, Jones was quoted: "They plan on, if they've fluoridated you and vaccinated you and stunned you and mesmerized you with the TV and put you in a trance, on killing you." Jones continued to sell the products.[83]

Research commissioned in 2017 by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) determined that two products sold by Jones contained potentially dangerous levels of the heavy metal lead.[87]

During the April 2022 InfoWars bankruptcy hearing, Jones's representative stated "InfoWars is a prominent trademark in the conspiracy theory community and Alex Jones is equally as prominent". He added that Jones's name was the "Coca-Cola of the conspiracy theory community".[88][89]

Social media restrictions and bans

On July 24, 2018,[90] YouTube removed four InfoWars' videos citing "child endangerment and hate speech",[91][92] issued a "strike" against the channel, and suspended the ability to live stream.[90][92] On July 27, 2018, Facebook suspended Jones's profile for 30 days, and removed the same videos, saying they violated the website's standards against hate speech and bullying.[93][90] On August 3, 2018, Stitcher Radio removed all of his podcasts, citing harassment.[94]

Later that year, on August 6, 2018, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify removed all content by Jones and InfoWars for policy violations. YouTube removed channels associated with InfoWars, including The Alex Jones Channel.[95] On Facebook, four pages associated with InfoWars and Alex Jones were removed over repeated policy violations. Apple removed all podcasts associated with Jones from iTunes.[96] On August 13, 2018, Vimeo removed all of Jones's videos because of "prohibitions on discriminatory and hateful content".[97] Facebook cited instances of dehumanizing immigrants, Muslims and transgender people, as well as glorification of violence, as examples of hate speech.[98][99] After InfoWars was banned from Facebook, Jones used another of his websites, NewsWars, to circumvent the ban.[100][101]

Jones's accounts were also removed from Pinterest,[102] Mailchimp[103] and LinkedIn.[104] As of early August 2018, Jones retained active accounts on Instagram,[105] Google+[106] and Twitter.[107][108] Jones tweeted a Periscope video calling on others to get their "battle rifles" ready against antifa, the mainstream media, and Chicom operatives.[109] In the video, he says: "Now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag." Twitter cited this as the reason to suspend his account for a week in August 2018.[110]

In September, Jones was permanently banned from Twitter and Periscope after berating CNN reporter Oliver Darcy.[111][112] On September 7, 2018, the InfoWars app was removed from the Apple App Store for "objectionable content".[113] He was banned from using PayPal for business transactions, having violated the company's policies by expressing "hate or discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions."[114] After Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter several previously banned accounts were reinstated including Donald Trump, Andrew Tate and Ye resulting in questioning if Alex Jones will be unbanned as well. However Musk denied that Alex Jones will be unbanned criticizing Jones as a person that "would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame".[115]

InfoWars remained available on Roku devices, in January 2019, a year after the channel's removal from multiple streaming services. Roku indicated that they do not "curate or censor based on viewpoint," and that it had policies against content that is "unlawful, incited illegal activities, or violates third-party rights," but that InfoWars was not in violation of these policies. Following a social media backlash, Roku removed InfoWars and stated "After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform."[116][117]

In March 2019, YouTube terminated the Resistance News channel due to its reuploading of live streams from InfoWars.[118] On May 1, 2019, Jones was barred from using both Facebook and Instagram.[119][120][121] Jones briefly moved to Dlive, but was suspended in April 2019 for violating community guidelines.[122]

In March 2020, the InfoWars app was removed from the Google Play store due to Jones disseminating COVID-19 misinformation. A Google spokesperson stated that "combating misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team" and apps that violate Play policy by "distributing misleading or harmful information" are removed from the store.[123]

Comedian Joe Rogan attracted controversy for hosting Jones on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, in October 2020. The episode was made available on YouTube and Spotify in spite of Jones's ban from both platforms. Though Rogan fact-checked Jones throughout the course of the interview, he nonetheless faced backlash from critics, who accused Rogan of giving Jones a platform to spread misinformation and validate his views. A YouTube spokesman responded that YouTube reviewed the episode and determined it did not violate the site's guidelines, noting that YouTube bans channels rather than individuals.[124][125]

Views and incidents

 
Jones during a 9/11 truth movement event on September 11, 2007, in Manhattan

Jones has described himself as a conservative, paleoconservative and libertarian, terms he uses interchangeably.[126][127] Others describe him as conservative, right-wing, alt-right,[128] and far-right.[129][130] Asked about such labels, Jones said he is "proud to be listed as a thought criminal against Big Brother".[12]

Early political activities

 
Jones at a protest in Dallas in 2013

In 1998, he was removed from a George W. Bush rally at Bayport Industrial District, Texas. Jones interrupted governor Bush's speech, demanding that the Federal Reserve and Council on Foreign Relations be abolished. Journalist David Weigel, reporting on the incident, said Jones "seemed to launch into public events as if flung from another universe."[131]

In early 2000, Jones was one of seven Republican candidates for state representative in Texas House District 48, an open swing district based in Austin, Texas. Jones said that he was running "to be a watchdog on the inside"[132] but withdrew from the race after a couple of weeks.

On July 15, 2000, Jones infiltrated the Bohemian Grove Cremation of Care,[75] a Jones-alleged planning event of the New World Order involving child sacrifice,[54] which he called "a ritualistic shedding of conscience and empathy" and an "abuse of power".[133]

On June 8, 2006, while on his way to cover a meeting of the Bilderberg Group in Ottawa, Jones was stopped and detained at the Ottawa airport by Canadian authorities. They confiscated his passport, camera equipment, and most of his belongings. He was later allowed to enter Canada legally. Jones said about his immigration hold: "I want to say, on the record, it takes two to tango. I could have handled it better."[134]

On September 8, 2007, Jones was arrested while protesting at 6th Avenue and 48th Street in New York City, when his group crashed a live television show featuring Geraldo Rivera. He was charged with operating a megaphone without a permit, and two other persons were also cited for disorderly conduct.[135]

Gun rights

Jones is a vocal gun rights advocate.[136][137] MTV labeled him a "staunch Second Amendment supporter",[138] while The Daily Telegraph in London called him a "gun-nut".[139]

In January 2013, Jones was invited to speak on Piers Morgan's CNN show after promoting an online petition to deport Morgan because of his support of gun control.[140] In the ensuing debate with Morgan, Jones stated that "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms".[141][142][143][144] Jones was referring to the American Revolutionary War in relation to theoretical gun control measures taken by the government. Jones said he owned around 50 firearms.[145] Morgan said on CNN's Newsroom the following evening he couldn't conceive of a "better advertisement for gun control than Alex Jones' interview last night".[146] On his own show, according to The Atlantic, Glenn Beck said Morgan "is trying to make everybody who has guns and who believes in the Second Amendment to be a deterrent to an out of control government look like a madman. So now he immediately books the madman and makes him look like a conservative."[147]

In a New York magazine interview in November 2013, Jones said mass shootings in the United States "were very, very suspicious, but at minimum, the tragic events were used to try to create guilt on the part of the average gun owner. So via the guilt trip, they would accept their individual liberties curtailed."[12]

During an episode of his show InfoWars on May 24, 2022, Jones said concerning the Robb Elementary School shooting: "I would predict a lot of mass shootings right before elections and like clockwork, it is happening. To me, it is just very opportunistic what is happening."[148]

Other opinions

Jones is a proponent of the New World Order conspiracy theory.[149] In 2009, Jones claimed that a convicted con man's scheme to take over a long-vacant, would-be for-profit prison in Hardin, Montana, was part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plot to detain US citizens in concentration camps, relating to said conspiracy theory.[150] On June 9, 2013, Jones appeared as a guest on the BBC's Sunday Politics, discussing conspiracy theories about the Bilderberg Group, with presenter Andrew Neil and journalist David Aaronovitch. Aaronovitch implied that, since Jones had not been killed for exposing conspiracies, they either do not exist or that Jones is a part of them himself. Jones began shouting and interrupting, and Neil ended the interview, describing Jones as "an idiot"[151] and "the worst person I've ever interviewed".[152][153] According to Neil on Twitter, Jones was still shouting until he knew that he was off-air.[151][152]

Jones was in a "media crossfire" in 2011, which included criticism by Rush Limbaugh, when the news spread that Jared Lee Loughner, the perpetrator of the 2011 Tucson shooting, had been "a fan" of the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change of which Jones had been an executive producer.[30]

Media Matters covered his claim that NFL players protesting during the national anthem were "kneeling to white genocide" and violence against whites,[154] which the SPLC featured in their headlines review.[155] His reporting and public views on the topic have received support and coverage from white nationalist publications and groups, such as the AltRight Corporation and the New Zealand National Front.[156][157]

The Jones film Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement features the Georgia Guidestones, a 19-foot-high megalithic granite monument installed in Elberton in 1982, an attraction that drew 20,000 annual visitors. On July 7, 2022, the day they were dynamited by unknown saboteurs, his guest U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said ecumenical texts inscribed on it represented a nefarious future of "population control" as envisioned by the "hard left." She added, "There is a war of good and evil going on, and people are done with globalism."[158] Jones admitted to enjoying the destruction, "at an animal level", though he added he would also would have liked them to remain as an "evil edifice" exposing supposed depopulation plans.[159]

Jones has repeatedly made hateful comments towards the LGBT community.[160] In 2010, he claimed: "The reason there's so many gay people now is because it's a chemical warfare operation, and I have the government documents where they said they're going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children".[161] In a 2013 interview on YouTube concerning same-sex marriage he ultimately blamed the "globalists" who "want to encourage the breakdown of the family, because the family is where people owe their allegiance" as a means "to get rid of God" by "taking the rights of an ancient, unified program of marriage and [...] are breaking it".[13] He has claimed that the government is putting chemicals in water supplies to make people homosexual.[b] In 2018, Jones threatened to come after drag performers with torches "like the villagers in the night".[160]

Jones believes that global warming is a hoax made up by the World Bank to control the world economy through a carbon tax.[166]

Salon paraphrased Jones as having claimed President Obama had "access to weather weapons capable of not only creating tornadoes but also moving them around, on demand"[167][168] His belief in weather warfare has been reported by mainstream media.[169][170][better source needed][171] He has claimed that Hurricane Irma may have been geo-engineered.[172]

Jones is a proponent of the conspiracy theory that Michelle Obama is transgender, with much of his apparent proof being pictures of Obama where it appears she has a bulge in her pants, and a video clip where Barack Obama refers to somebody as "Michael".[173][174] Jones has claimed that the election of Joe Biden is part of a plot by the deep state and the globalists to bring about "the takedown of America".[175]

In April 2017, Jones was criticized for claiming that the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack was a hoax and false flag.[176][177] Jones stated that the attack was potentially carried out by civil defense group White Helmets, which he claimed are an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist front financed by George Soros.[178][179][failed verification]

While Jones initially supported QAnon,[180] Right Wing Watch reported that he had ceased to support QAnon by May 2018, declaring the source "completely compromised".[181] In 2021, after the Capitol attack, Jones denounced believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory on InfoWars.[182]

Jones is known for both his opposition to vaccines,[183] and his views on vaccine controversies.[184][185] On June 16, 2017, Vox covered his claim that the introduction of the Sesame Street character Julia, an autistic Muppet, was "designed to normalize autism, a disorder caused by vaccines."[186] On November 20, 2017, The New Yorker quoted Jones as claiming InfoWars was "defending people's right to not be forcibly infected with vaccines".[187] Critics argue that he endangers "children by convincing their parents that vaccines are dangerous."[188] Jones has specifically disputed the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccines.[189]

Book project

On January 23, 2018, Jones announced he would be working with author Neil Strauss on his upcoming book, titled The Secret History of the Modern World & the War for the Future.[190][191][192]

Connections to Donald Trump

2016 presidential campaign

On December 2, 2015, Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate, appeared on The Alex Jones Show, with Trump stating to Jones at the end: "your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down. You'll be very, very impressed, I hope."[193] During the broadcast, Jones compared Trump to George Washington and said 90% of his listeners supported his candidacy. Jones and Trump both said the appearance was arranged by Roger Stone, who made multiple appearances on Jones' program during the 2016 presidential campaign. Ron and Rand Paul were the only other significant politicians to appear on Jones' show in the preceding few years.[194][195][168] Jones indicated his support for Trump during the presidential campaign.[196]

During his 2016 presidential campaign, via his Twitter account, Trump linked to InfoWars articles as sources for his claim "thousands and thousands" of Muslims celebrated 9/11 and the false assertion California was not suffering from a drought.[197] A few days before one of Trump's August 2016 rallies, InfoWars published a video claiming Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had mental health issues, which Trump recycled in his campaign speech at the rally, according to Mother Jones.[168] Trump's claim the 2016 vote would be rigged, The Independent reported, followed a Jones video making the same claim two days earlier.[198] In one of her own speeches and video ads, Clinton criticized Trump for his ties to Jones.[199][14][200]

Jones ran a campaign attacking former president Bill Clinton as a rapist. He designed a T-shirt, ran another "get on MSM" competition[201] and gate-crashed The Young Turks set at the RNC, while displaying the T-shirt, resulting in a physical altercation with Cenk Uygur.[202] Jones said Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were demons because they both smelt of sulfur, a claim supposedly based on assertions from people in contact with them.[203] In late 2015, InfoWars began selling T-shirts with the slogan "Hillary for Prison".[204]

According to Jones, Trump called him on the day after the election to thank him for his help in the campaign.[205]

Trump as president

In April 2018, Jones publicly criticized President Trump during a livestream, after Trump announced a military strike against Syria. During the stream, Jones also stated that Trump had not called him during the prior six months.[206] A leaked interview of Jones in January 2019 expressing displeasure over his relationship with Trump was released by the Southern Poverty Law Center in March 2021, with Jones stating "I wish I never would have fucking met Trump [...] I'm so sick of fucking Donald Trump, man. God, I'm fucking sick of him."[207][208]

Jones supported Trump during his re-election campaign in 2020 and called on demonstrations to be held on the premise the election had been "rigged" against Trump.[209]

After Trump recommended at an August 2021 rally that people choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Jones said that Trump was either lying or "not that bright" and "a dumbass".[210]

Events related to the January 6 Capitol attack

Jones partially funded and raised other funds to finance the January 6 Trump rally in Washington, D.C., that preceded the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[211][212] The New York Times reported he assisted in raising at least $650,000 from Julie Fancelli, a Publix grocery chain heiress who is a follower of InfoWars, to finance Trump's rally on the Ellipse, including $200,000 of the total amount deposited in one of Jones' bank accounts.[52]

Jones attended the January 5 and 6 rallies at the capitol. On January 5, he was a scheduled speaker at the March to Save America and said, "We have only begun to resist the globalists. We have only begun our fight against their tyranny. They have tried to steal this election in front of everyone." Jones also stated that "I don't know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they've got one," according to the same video. Jones called Joe Biden a "slave of Satan" and said, "Whatever happens to President Trump in 15 days, he is still the elected president of this republic. And we do not recognize the Communist Chinese agent Joe Biden, or his controllers."[213]

The next day, Wednesday, January 6, at a gathering in Lafayette Park north of the Capitol, he addressed the crowd with a bullhorn, and stated that he had seen "over a hundred" members of antifa in the crowd, a baseless assertion other Trump supporters had also made, although the FBI said there was no evidence of antifa involvement.[214][215] The same day, a video of Jones was posted on InfoWars, in which he is recorded saying "We declare 1776 against the new world order [...] We need to understand we're under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing".[216] In the same video, before setting off toward the Capitol building, Jones told the crowd: "We're here to take our rightful country back peacefully, because we're not globalist, antifa criminals. So let's start marching, and I salute you all."[40] When rioters attacked the Capitol, Jones called on them to stop. "Let's not fight the police and give the system what they want," he said.[217][40]

In February 2021, The Washington Post reported that the FBI was investigating any role Jones might have played in influencing the participation of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in the incursion.[218] Jones had previously hosted leaders of the two groups on his programs.[219] Some members of the groups had been indicted for conspiracy in the incident.[220][221]

On November 22, 2021, the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack subpoenaed Jones for testimony and documents by December 18 and 6, respectively.[222] He had a virtual meeting with the committee by video link on January 24, 2022. By the estimate of his legal team, Jones said, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment 100 times and had been instructed to do so by his counsel.[223]

On August 5, 2022, during a defamation trial in Texas brought by Sandy Hook school shooting parents against Jones, a lawyer for the plaintiffs revealed that Jones' lawyer had inadvertently sent him two years of texts from Jones' phone, and that a congressional panel investigating the Capitol riot had already requested access to the messages because Jones helped organize a rally just before the riot.[224] On August 8 the congressional committee received Jones's text messages.[225]

Litigation

Pizzagate conspiracy theory

In February 2017, James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, sent Jones a letter demanding an apology and retraction of his advocacy for the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Jones was given one month to comply or be subject to a libel suit.[226] In March 2017, Jones apologized to Alefantis and retracted his allegations.[227]

Chobani yogurt company

In April 2017, the Chobani yogurt company filed suit against Jones for his claims that their factory in Idaho employing refugees was connected to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis.[228] As a result, Jones issued an apology and retraction of his allegations in May 2017.[229]

Charlottesville car attack

In March 2018, Brennan Gilmore, who shared a video he captured of a car hitting counter protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally, filed a lawsuit against Jones and six others.[230] According to the lawsuit, Jones said that Gilmore was acting as part of a false flag operation conducted by disgruntled government "deep state" employees promoting a coup against Trump.[231] Gilmore alleged he received death threats from Jones's audience.[231] In March 2022, Gilmore secured an admission of liability from Jones.[232][233]

Sandy Hook school shooting

 
Jones speaking in Washington, D.C. in 2018

Jones has repeatedly spread disproven conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, including claiming that it was a "false flag" operation perpetrated by gun control advocates, that "no one died" in Sandy Hook, and that the incident was "staged", "synthetic", "manufactured", "a giant hoax" and "completely fake with actors."[234][235][236][237] Jones faced numerous lawsuits due to these lies,[41] and, in 2022, was ordered by a jury to pay $965 million in damages to 15 plaintiffs that he had defamed.[238]

Lawsuits

On April 16, 2018, Neil Heslin, father of victim Jesse Lewis, filed a defamation suit against Jones, Infowars and Free Speech Systems in Travis County, Texas.[239] Later that day, Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, parents of victim Noah Pozner, filed a defamation suit against them as well.[240] Pozner, who has been forced to move several times to avoid harassment and death threats, was accused by Jones of being a crisis actor.[241] Jones was found to be in contempt of court even before the trial started, failing to produce witnesses and materials relevant to the procedures. Consequently, Jones and Infowars were fined a total of $126,000 in October and December 2019.[242]

On June 26, 2018, six families of victims and an FBI agent who responded to the attack filed a defamation lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court against Jones, Infowars, Free Speech Systems, Infowars Health and others for spreading false claims, resulting in the harassment, stalking and threatening of survivors.[243][244][245][246][247] On March 25, 2019, Jeremy Richman, one of the plaintiffs, whose daughter Avielle was killed, committed suicide. Jones, through his lawyer, offered condolences to Richman's family, then later that day on his show suggested that Richman had been murdered, and that his death had something to do with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference.[248]

On July 24, 2018, William Sherlach, husband of victim and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, filed a defamation lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court against Jones, Infowars, Free Speech Systems and Infowars Health.[249]

Court rulings

By February 2019, the plaintiffs won a series of court rulings requiring Jones to testify under oath.[9] Jones was later ordered to undergo a sworn deposition, along with three other defendants related to the operation of Infowars. He was also ordered to turn over internal business documents related to Infowars.[250] In this deposition in the last week of March 2019, Jones acknowledged the deaths were real, stating he had "almost like a form of psychosis", where he "basically thought everything was staged."[251]

On January 22, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court threw out an appeal for dismissal by Jones of four defamation lawsuits from families of Sandy Hook victims. The court allowed the judgments of two lower courts to stand without comment, allowing the lawsuits to continue.[252] On April 5, 2021, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal against a Connecticut court sanction in the defamation lawsuit.[253]

Default judgments

On September 27, 2021, a district judge in Texas issued three default judgments against Jones, requiring him to pay all damages in two lawsuits. These rulings came after Jones repeatedly failed to hand over documents and evidence as ordered by the court, which the judge characterized as "flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules."[254][255] On November 15, 2021, a superior court judge in Connecticut issued another default judgment in the fourth defamation lawsuit against Jones,[256][257][258] and the amount he must pay the families will be determined at trial.[259] As part of the legal settlement made against him, Jones claimed assets of $6.2 million in January 2022.[260]

On or about March 29, 2022, Jones offered a settlement of $120,000 to each of the thirteen people involved in the lawsuits, which was quickly rejected.[261]

Attempts to hide assets

On April 6, 2022, according to the Associated Press and The Daily Beast, a lawsuit was filed in Austin, Texas, by some of the Sandy Hook families accusing Jones of hiding assets worth millions of dollars after he began being sued for defamation by the families of Sandy Hook victims. The suit claims Jones "conspired to divert his assets to shell companies owned by insiders like his parents, his children, and himself".[262][263] The lawsuit alleges Jones drew $18 million from the Infowars company beginning in 2018 and accuses Jones of claiming a "dubious" $54 million debt at about the same time to another company alleged by the lawsuit to be also owned by Jones.[262] Norm Pattis, an attorney for Jones, said the lawsuit was "ridiculous" and denied that there had been any attempt to conceal assets.[262]

On April 17, 2022, three companies owned by Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, suspending further civil litigation claims,[264] as the families had sued Jones as well as his companies. The three companies affected were InfoW, Prison Planet TV, and IWHealth (or Infowars Health).[265][266] The court filings estimated InfoWars' assets at between $0–$50,000, but its liabilities (including from the damages awarded against Jones in defamation suits) were stated as being between $1 million to $10 million.[267] Regarding why Jones did not personally file for bankruptcy, his representative stated "It would ruin his name and harm his ability to sell merchandise." "Putting him in bankruptcy would harm his trademark value in terms of cashflow."[88] A lawyer for the families involved in a Connecticut lawsuit against Jones responded, "Alex Jones is just delaying the inevitable: a public trial in which he will be held accountable for his profit-driven campaign of lies against the Sandy Hook families who have brought this lawsuit."[89] On June 10, 2022, a federal judge in Texas dismissed the bankruptcy protection case after Jones and the families agreed that the three companies would be dropped from the defamation lawsuits against Jones, allowing them to continue in Texas and Connecticut.[268]

On June 2, 2022, Jones's attorneys asked the judge in the Connecticut lawsuit to drop them from the case. The judge said she had heard this before, citing thirteen times in the past four years when Jones' attorneys asked to replace each other or be dropped from the case. She ordered them to continue to represent Jones until she ruled on the motion on June 15.[269]

On July 29, 2022, the parent company of InfoWars, Free Speech Systems, LLC, filed for bankruptcy.[266]

Jury trials for damages

The first of three jury trials to determine defamation damages against Jones (Heslin v. Jones) began in Texas on July 25, 2022, where the plaintiffs' attorney said they would seek $150 million from the jury.[270][271] The plaintiffs, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, are parents of Jesse Lewis, one of the 20 students killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Heslin testified on August 2 that conspiracy theorists, fueled by Jones' statements, fired into his house and car and subjected him and his family to harassment. He said Jones' failure to attend court during his testimony was a "cowardly act."[272] While Heslin was testifying, Jones was broadcasting his show, calling Heslin "slow" and "manipulated by some very bad people."[272] Jones subsequently arrived at court to present his testimony, first sitting through that of Jesse's mother Scarlett Lewis. Lewis said "Alex, I want you to hear this. We're more polarized than ever as a country. Some of that is because of you." She asked Jones: "Do you think I'm an actor?" Jones responded, "No, I don't think you're an actor."[272] As the only person testifying in his defense, Jones admitted the Sandy Hook shooting was "100% real," and agreed with his own attorney that it was "absolutely irresponsible" to push falsehoods about the shooting and its victims.[273]

Jones testified that he had complied with court orders in defamation suits and is bankrupt. On August 3, cross-examination revealed that Jones had not fully complied with court orders to provide text messages and emails for pretrial evidence gathering.[274] Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Travis County District Court admonished him for lying under oath, as his failure to comply with court orders was the reason he lost the defamation suits, and that bankruptcy proceedings had yet to be adjudicated. Gamble said, "you're under oath. That means things must actually be true when you say them."[272] After the judge left the courtroom, Jones said Lewis and Heslin were being "controlled."[273] While the jury deliberated the amount of compensatory damages, Jones was claiming on his radio show that the proceedings were "an incredible spectacle" backed by globalists trying to shut him down.[275] On August 4, 2022, the jury ordered Jones pay Heslin and Lewis $4.1 million in compensatory damages,[276][277] and the following day, he was ordered to pay an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages.[278][279][280] On November 22, 2022, a judge ruled that Jones must pay the full amount of the punitive damages,[281] even though this amount exceeds a cap under Texas law. (Jones' attorneys had estimated the punitive damages award would be reduced to $1.5 million, while the plaintiffs' attorneys had expected it to be reduced to $4.5 million.)[282]

On October 12, 2022, in a trial that consolidated two cases,[283] the jury awarded $965 million to be shared by 15 plaintiffs (eight families and one first responder). The plaintiffs' individual awards ranged from $28.8 million to $120 million.[238] During the trial, the families testified that they had been threatened and harassed over years due to Jones' falsehoods.[284][43] Jones reacted live to the verdict on his show, mocking it: "Do these people actually think they’re getting any money?" He implored his viewers to donate to him to "appeal", and also declared that the jury's verdict was an attempt to "scare us away from questioning" school shootings such as the Uvalde shooting and the Stoneman Douglas shooting, but "we're not going to stop."[285]

On November 10, 2022, in the second defamation case in Connecticut, a judge awarded the eight families a further $473 million in punitive damages in the form of lawyers’ fees bringing the total to over $1.4 billion. The judge also issued an order that he was “not to transfer, encumber, dispose or move his assets out of the United States until further order of the court.”[286] Consequently, numerous media sources have raised questions on how much Jones really owns and hides in assets.[287][288][289][290]

On November 22, 2022, in the first Texas case, Judge Gamble ruled that the punitive damages cap did not apply in this case due to the rare and egregious nature of the harm. She also questioned the constitutionality of the damages cap in general. [291][292]

Stoneman Douglas school shooting

Jones spread discredited conspiracy theories about the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. He stated survivor David Hogg was a crisis actor.[234][235][236]

Marcel Fontaine sued Jones on April 2, 2018, after InfoWars falsely identified him as the gunman and posted photos of him in several versions of an article on the InfoWars website about the massacre. The lawsuit was filed in Texas court naming Jones, InfoWars, parent company Free Speech Systems, LLC and Infowars employee Kit Daniels as defendants.[293][294] Fontaine's lawsuit was the first one against Jones regarding mass school shootings. "Marcel Fontaine is the only reason why we filed the first Sandy Hook case" his lawyer said (after Fontaine's suit was filed, the lawyer said the families of two boys slain in the Sandy Hook shooting contacted his law firm about suing Jones). Fontaine died in a house fire in Worcester, Massachusetts, on May 14, 2022. The future of the lawsuit was unclear at the time of his death.[295]

Personal life

Jones has three children with his former wife Kelly Jones. The couple divorced in March 2015.[296] In 2017, Kelly sought sole or joint custody of their children due to her ex-husband's behavior. She claimed "he's not a stable person" and "I'm concerned that he is engaged in felonious behavior, threatening a member of Congress" (Adam Schiff). His attorney responded by claiming that "he's playing a character" and describing him as a "performance artist".[297][298] On his show, Jones denied playing a character and he called his show "the most bona fide, hard-core, real McCoy thing there is, and everybody knows it";[299][300] whereas in court, Jones clarified that he generally agreed with his attorney's statement, but that he disagreed with the media's interpretation of the term "performance artist".[301] Kelly was awarded the right to decide where their children live while he maintains visitation rights.[302] In April 2020, a state district judge denied an emergency motion by Kelly to secure custody of their daughters for the next two weeks after Jones led a rally at the Capitol, where he was mobbed by supporters and called COVID-19 a hoax.[303]

His son, Rex Jones, has worked for InfoWars.[304]

Jones married Erika Wulff Jones in 2017 and they have one child.[305]

Media

Films

 
Jones and filmgoers at the première of A Scanner Darkly in which Jones has a cameo[55]
Year Title Role Notes
2001 Waking Life Man in Car with PA Cameo
2006 A Scanner Darkly Preacher Minor role
2007 Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement Himself Documentary
Loose Change
2009 The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
2016 Amerigeddon Senator Reed Minor role

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2009–2012 Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura Himself Recurring guest

Author

  • Jones, Alex (2002). 9-11: Descent Into Tyranny. Austin, Texas: Progressive Press. ISBN 978-1-57558-113-2. OCLC 52400701.
  • Jones, Alex (2009). The Answer to 1984 Is 1776. London: The Disinformation Company. ISBN 978-1-934708-15-6. OCLC 421814975.

Film subject

Year Title Notes
2001 Waking Life by Richard Linklater
2001 The Secret Rulers of the World by Jon Ronson, part four of a five part series
2003 Aftermath: Unanswered Questions from 9/11 by Stephen Marshall
2009 New World Order (documentary) by Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel
2010 The Fall of America and the Western World by Brian Kraft

Notes

  1. ^ New York magazine has described Jones as "America's leading conspiracy theorist",[12] and the Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as "the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America".[13]
  2. ^ He has described tap water as a "gay bomb" and claimed that chemicals put in water by the government have made frogs homosexual and, without evidence, that the majority of frogs in the United States are "gay." He has stated, "I don't like 'em putting chemicals in the water that turn the freakin' frogs gay!" His rant has inspired a meme.[162][163][164][165]

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