About Alex Jones
Since the founding of the far-right radio and internet conspiracy website Infowars, Alex Jones has made a name for himself peddling wild antigovernment conspiracy theories. Jones’ most notable conspiracies revolve around national tragedies and terrorist attacks he labels as “false flag” operations. With millions of regular viewers and over two decades on the air, Jones has created a financial and brand empire out of selling misinformation and disinformation, as well as self-help dietary products. His uncorroborated reporting has led to many innocent people being harassed by internet trolls both online and in person. His politically charged stunts have made headlines, and by 2021, his calls for Trump supporters to protest the Biden presidency helped fuel the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol building. Jones is one of the most prolific and influential conspiracy theorists in contemporary America.
In his own words
“Children are being taught with drag queen story time that a big fat man in a clown outfit is a woman. I’m sorry. That’s not a woman. That’s a big fat man or a little boy dressed up like a girl. This is all very, very sexualization of children.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Feb. 20, 2022
“Are there some really evil, wicked Jews, and wicked Jewish mafia out there? Absolutely. The Jewish mafia created the ADL in 1913 when a pedophile raped and killed a little girl, and they didn't like the fact that he got in trouble, so they said, ‘We’re founding this organization to do this.’ And that’s who the ADL is. And it’s an evil organization, it’s very anti-American, who gives awards to George Soros, a Nazi collaborator, and award to Arnold Schwarzenegger who on record told Rolling Stone he loves Hitler.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Feb. 3, 2022
“The system is publicly stealing this election from the biggest landslide and the biggest political realignment since 1776.” — Alex Jones, Million MAGA March, Dec. 12, 2020
“We will never back down to the Satanic pedophile, globalist New World Order and their walking-dead reanimated corpse Joe Biden, and we will never recognize him.” — Alex Jones, Million MAGA March, Dec. 12, 2020
“We understand the globalist false flag operation plan for next week. We all wonder, ‘Why did [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi rush impeachment then hold it back for almost a month?’ They were lining it up for Martin Luther King Day because a yearly gun march, it’s happened for 20 years in Virginia at the Capitol. They’re planning to stage mass shootings, bombing or false flags to try to turn the American people against gun owners and President Trump.” — “Alex Jones Show,” Jan. 18, 2020
“When Muslims strike out and bomb churches or shoot up churches every Christmas, every Easter, all over the world, and run down whole families with vehicles, we’re told, ‘It’s not Muslims,’ so that’s going to cause unhinged people to get violent.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” March 2019
“We have sources who have told us the same thing – that they’re preparing to completely take you off the monopoly internet, 96% of it is Apple, Google, Facebook Twitter and their subsidiaries — and that you are going to be taken off the air. There’s going to be a huge fight, a debate about it, people are going to agree that you’ve been wronged, and then there’s going to be a terror attack, a group of terror attacks, on the media, on social media, using firearms, they’re going to stage a right-wing uprising, which they’re going to completely stage.” — “Alex Jones Show,” Aug. 6, 2018
“Nothing against Jews in general, but there are leftist Jews that want to create this clash and they go dress up as Nazis. I have footage in Austin — we're going to find it somewhere here at the office — where it literally looks like cast of ‘Seinfeld’ or like Howard Stern in a Nazi outfit. They all look like Howard Stern. They almost got like little curly hair down, and they’re just up there heiling Hitler. You can tell they are totally uncomfortable, they are totally scared, and it’s all just meant to create the clash.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Aug. 14, 2017
“I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them – Hey listen asshole … listen you son of a bitch, what the fuck is your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn fucking Russian. You get in my face with that, I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. You fucking goddamn fucker. Listen fuck head, you have fucking crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn fucking head. Stop pushing your shit. You’re the people that have fucked this country over and gang-raped the shit out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hands. I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent, those are fucking fighting words. … He’s sucking globalist dick.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” April 4, 2017
“Imagine how bad she [Hillary Clinton] smells, man? I’m told her and Obama, just stink, stink, stink, stink. You can’t wash that evil off, man. Told there’s a rotten smell around Hillary. I’m not kidding, people say, they say — folks, I’ve been told this by high-up folks. They say listen, Obama and Hillary both smell like sulfur. … I’ve talked to people that are in protective details, they’re scared of her. And they say listen, she’s a frickin’ demon and she stinks and so does Obama. I go, like what? Sulfur. They smell like hell.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Oct. 10, 2016
“Obama is hardcore Wahhabist; he is al-Qaeda.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Jan. 6, 2016
“A lot of liberal women, as you know, the new thing is having a jihadi. … There’s nothing sexier than a jihadi because it’s so fun to have him step on your head and kick you in the gut. Now, if the man treats you good and loves Jesus, he’s bad. But if he kicks you in the teeth and stomps on you, it’s liberal, it’s trendy, you go smoke hookah with him, and it’s fun.” – “The Alex Jones Show,” Feb. 8, 2016
“Humanity has got to get off-world. We need access to the life-extension technologies. Talk about discrimination, forget skin color. I want the advanced life-extension! I want to go to space! I want to see interdimensional travel! I want what God promised us and I won’t sit here and watch Satan steal it!”– “The Alex Jones Show,” March 16, 2016
“We’re going to return the republic. We’ll never be perfect but my God we’re not going to keep babies alive and harvest their organs. We’re not going to sell their parts for women’s cosmetics. We’re not gonna have Pepsi with baby flavoring in it.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Dec. 8, 2015
“Same-sex marriage is sold as a civil right. And I believe that people as individuals — I’m a libertarian — have the right to do what they want as long as it doesn’t hurt others. And I’m not obsessed with the subject like people on different sides of the debate are. But clearly, from the eugenicist/globalist view, and they've written textbooks on it, you can look them up, they [the globalists] want to encourage the breakdown of the family, because the family is where people owe their allegiance. That’s why they want to get rid of God. Not because they’re atheists, but because they want the state to be God. And so they are taking the rights of an ancient, unified program of marriage and they are breaking it.” — YouTube interview, June 2013
“I’m here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms! It doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street, begging to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them! Do you understand?” — CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” Jan. 7, 2013
“I have deep context for every claim I make. I know some people say I exaggerate, but I believe everything I say. It’s just that the denial is so strong, the apathy so deep, that people need something to shake them out of their morass. We’re like flowers who naturally turn toward the sun, and the globalists want us turned toward Hollywood and the TV so they can poison us.” — Quoted in Rolling Stone, March 2011
“Then they’ll release the big one, and they’ll kill probably half the population of the United States. Folks, I’m telling you right now, I’m sure of it. They’re going to stage terror attacks. I will be very surprised if they don’t stage something by the end of this year.” — “The Alex Jones Show,” Feb. 13, 2009
Alex Jones has been dubbed “the most paranoid man in America” by Rolling Stone and the “king of conspiracy” by CNN. Jones is notorious for epic rants about “New World Order” plots for world government, enforced eugenics, secret internment camps, militarized police and behind-the-scenes control by a global corporate cabal. In his estimation, the only way to avert this dystopian future is if true patriots resist before it is too late, and his tens of thousands of acolytes are taking heed, building bunkers, hoarding food and investing in precious metals — and, in some cases, resorting to violence.
His principal venue is Infowars, which peddles an extensive line of self-produced videos, “documentaries” that purport to prove a whole array of conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks, secret government concentration camps, and common antigovernment conspiracy theories and beliefs. Infowars operates under the parent company Free Speech Systems LLC and is distributed by the Genesis Communications Network.
Some of these ideas, in line with the conspiracy propagandist ideology, have come to define the Infowars brand. Falsehoods around the true purposes of the United Nations (U.N.), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and health supplements are just some of the key components that have formed the foundation for the Infowars empire. Infowars has attacked global and domestic political institutions for years, asserting without evidence that such organizations as the U.N. are flooding the U.S. with immigrants.
Likewise, Infowars has popularized antigovernment conspiracies like that of the “deep state,” an idea that asserts a cabal of shadowy liberal elites is currently working to destroy America from within the government. The deep state is one of several conspiracies the outlet pushes; other long-running themes have included attacks on such agencies as FEMA, which Infowars has claimed is a network of prison camps being built to hold American citizens.
Jones has falsely and repeatedly claimed that shadowy groups within the U.S. government orchestrated — or at least refrained from preventing — the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building; the 9/11 attacks; the Boston Marathon massacre; the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut; and the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In addition to being the king of conspiracies, Jones has made the Infowars brand synonymous with health supplements, an area Jones expanded into in 2013. As New York magazine reported in 2017, the Infowars empire appears to bring in a significant amount of money through its supplement page on the site. With a wide variety of products that claim to provide health benefits, from DNA Force Plus to Brain Force Plus and Super Male Vitality, the options, at a glance, appear to be almost endless. But as Buzzfeed reported that same year, after carefully reviewing some of the Infowars supplements they found most products were “a waste of money.” Although the products didn’t appear to pose any major health risks to consumers, the independent lab tests conducted by San Francisco-based lab Labdoor found no justifiable reason to pay the markup prices for Jones’ supplements, which cost an average of $30 each.
Through Jones’ diversified ventures even in the face of social media bans and lawsuits, he has managed to turn Infowars into one of the most prominent propaganda outlets of our time.
Born in Dallas, Texas, on Feb. 11, 1974, Jones, by his own account, had a typical suburban upbringing in a home where his father was a dentist and his mother a homemaker. He attended Austin’s Anderson High School, played football, smoked pot and did a lot of reading. One of the most influential books from his teenage years was None Dare Call It Conspiracy, a 1971 book by John Birch Society public relations representative Gary Allen that Jones still cites as “the quintessential primer to understand the New World Order.” The book sold 5 million copies and laid out the conspiracy that international bankers financed the communist revolution in Russia as an experiment and then moved to the next phase, attempting to impose global government, centralized monetary policies, income taxes and mass social welfare programs that would keep the populace dependent and subservient.
Near the end of Jones’ senior year in high school, he appears to have been influenced by notable events that affected many in the growing antigovernment movement. About 100 miles from Austin, the federal siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, ended in a tragic April 1993 firestorm. The events in Waco had a galvanizing effect on Jones. Dropping out of Austin Community College, he began hosting a viewer call-in show on Austin’s public access television (PACT/ACTV), where he honed the bombastic style that has since become his trademark.
When bomber Timothy McVeigh leveled Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building in April 1995, killing 168 people in retribution for the deaths of the Waco cultists, Jones simply could not accept that McVeigh was a fellow “patriot.” As Esquire magazine noted in an August 2013 profile, Jones “interviewed people who said they’d seen Timothy McVeigh planting explosives with a military escort and cops who mysteriously died after telling him the government did it. Just like the Reichstag! And there was a bombing drill that morning!”
In 1996, Jones moved to Austin’s KJFK-FM to host a show called “The Final Edition,” where he warned of impending martial law and banged the drum to rebuild the Branch Davidian compound as a memorial to those he said were “murdered” by Attorney General Janet Reno and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The show lasted until 1999, when, according to The Austin Chronicle, he was fired because his views made it difficult to attract sponsors despite high ratings and winning the Chronicle’s “Best Austin Talk Radio Host” reader poll that year.
Jones barely skipped a beat. He set up an ISDN line in his house and began independently broadcasting via Infowars.com and national syndication by Genesis Communications to AM, FM and shortwave stations. His reach grew quickly, and syndication soon verged on 100 stations. But when 9/11 took place, Jones’ repeated references to false conspiracies about the attack were too much, and cancellations poured in. “I went on the air and said, ‘Those were controlled demolitions,’” he told Rolling Stone. “You just watched the government blow up the World Trade Center. I lost 70 percent of my affiliates that day. Station managers asked me, ‘Do you want to be on this crusade going nowhere, or do you want to be a star?’ I’m proud I never compromised.”
An unsuccessful Republican candidate for a Texas House seat in 2000, Jones has espoused politics that are pointedly hard right. He described himself as an “aggressive constitutionalist.” He subscribes to a narrow understanding of individual liberties and adheres to a broad defense of property rights. Jones has spread the conspiracy that immigration is being ushered in by evil forces bent on destroying our society.
The Obama era
As Barack Obama was sworn in as the first Black president in January 2009, Jones expanded his repertoire of conspiracy theories to undermine government institutions and hurled ad hominem attacks at those close to the president. Unverified content became a staple of the Infowars platform, with wild allegations constantly making the rounds. Fabricated claims were ramped up and became frequent points of discussion on the show, like the idea that former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were actual demons who smelled like sulfur. Jones didn’t stop with members of Obama’s cabinet; Infowars became a platform for frequent attacks on former first lady Michelle Obama, with Jones arguing the first lady was a transgender woman.
As Infowars grew and continued to spread false information through the internet and radio, Jones also seized the opportunity to diversify his outlets, going so far as to produce and release such films as Fall of the Republic: The Presidency of Barack Obama and The Obama Deception. Both films falsely allege the 44th president was working to undermine U.S. sovereignty in an effort establish the “New World Order” and implement a “totalitarian world government.”
During this period, Jones also adopted the birther narrative, a conspiracy theory that played on anti-Muslim tropes and nativist fears to argue that Obama was born in Kenya and was a secret Muslim conspiring to destroy the U.S. Like most conspiracy propagandists, Jones speaks of today’s pressing issues in apocalyptic terms, with the destruction of our country, and sometimes even the world, right around the corner.
Around the same time, many in the Tea Party movement also embraced the birther narrative. Tea Partiers, known best for their anti-Obama stance, support of small government, firearms, lower taxes and opposition to universal healthcare, began to champion these issues using conspiracy-fueled talking points made famous by outlets like Infowars.
The false-flag saga
Two frequent conspiracies Jones and his team at Infowars peddle include false-flag operations and so-called “crisis actors” tied to events that were said to have been orchestrated by government officials.
Over the last decade, Jones has attracted a flurry of attention for his false-flag diatribes that call into question the reality of mass tragedies. These include, but are not limited to: the 2011 Tucson, Arizona, shooting that seriously wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting that left 12 dead and wounded 70 others; the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school that left more than two dozen people dead; the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others; the 2015 San Bernardino, California, shooting that resulted in the death of 16; the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that left 49 people dead at a popular LGBTQ venue; the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that resulted in the death of 59 people; and the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.
These conspiracies have few limits, as exemplified in early January 2011 when a 22-year-old mentally disturbed individual opened fire on a crowd in Tucson, Arizona. The shooter managed to kill six people and wound at least 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Days later, reports indicated the person charged with the shooting had been a fan of the Loose Change films, a series of films focused on 9/11 conspiracy theories that Jones helped produce.
When news of the incident reached Jones, the conspiracy theorist lashed out, instead choosing to dismiss the significance of the his antigovernment rhetoric and saying he believed the government was responsible for the shooter’s behavior through the use of “geometric psychological warfare” that can plant ideas directly into a person’s mind. According to Jones, the government must have been behind the idea of harming Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, with the overall goal of vilifying gun owners, conservatives and libertarians. Jones’ targeting of the federal government as an institution has only increased over the years.
Soon after, in July 2012, Jones found another opportunity to market his conspiracies. After a shooter opened fire in a crowded theater in Aurora, Colorado, Infowars began publishing articles with such headlines as “Overwhelming Evidence Mounts Indicating Colorado Shooting Staged.” The site continued promoting the lie that the shooter had been trained by the federal government with the goal of inciting public outrage and curtailing Second Amendment rights. As a result of such fabricated theories, family members of victims reported being harassed by individuals who bought into narratives that the people killed in the theater were actors.
Cries of false-flag operations continued later that year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The attack, perpetrated by Adam Lanza, resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults. In the aftermath, Jones used his platform to describe the event as being “completely false” and went after grieving parents, saying they were “crisis actors.” Jones repeatedly called the shooting a “hoax,” falsely claiming the federal government was responsible for the attack. According to Infowars, the shooting was intended to sway public opinion in favor of stricter gun control measures.
The unrelenting push to label the massacre a hoax and describe it as a false-flag operation resulted in torment for the families of those killed in the attack. Online, fans of Infowars began to question the legitimacy of the incident, arguing family members were part of an elaborate act. Real-world harassment campaigns began against parents, and the “crisis actor” narrative began to spread through social media platforms. After a barrage of intimidation and threats, some families were left with no other choice but to relocate, and in some cases the torment from Infowars fanatics continued for years.
Allegations that mass shooting were “hoaxes” received national attention and became a running theme on Infowars. Jones continued conflating mass tragedies with dark ploys by federal agencies to vilify gun-loving conservatives and expand the authority of said agencies. The conspiracies went beyond mass shootings. In April 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers planted explosives at the 117th Boston Marathon. The bombings left three people dead and injured more than 200 others. As reports came out detailing the horrific act, Infowars once again helped spearhead mistrust in the investigations, arguing instead that the bombings had been a false-flag operation intended to increase the powers afforded to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Agency (TSA). Jones also reintroduced the idea that groups on the political right would be targeted for the attack, saying the FBI would find a way to blame the incident on the Tea Party. Jones’ fears never came to fruition, but that didn’t stop him from contriving new antigovernment conspiracy theories around major tragedies.
In 2015, Jones continued pushing out disinformation while adding an extra element to his conspiracies, anti-LGBTQ and anti-Muslim rhetoric. In December of that year, a terrorist duo linked to the Islamic State carried out a mass shooting at a center that offered services to people with disabilities in San Bernardino, California. The shooters left 14 people dead, most employees. A day after the shooting, Media Matters for America reported that Jones once again jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon, this time alleging the incident was a false flag where the government might have been aware the shooting was going to take place and let it happen. Jones also claimed that because California has a long history of being led by Democratic leaders, the shooting must have been part of a larger initiative. Jones said, “They cover up … that it’s the Islamic, turn it around and blame the Second Amendment and George Washington, instead of the very people that are doing this, mentally ill crossdresser liberals, and crazy jihadis.”
As false-flag narratives were infused with hate rhetoric, the disparaging attack on LGBTQ people was highlighted best by Jones’ comments after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The venue, popular with many Latinx LGBTQ patrons, was the site of the second-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. It left 49 people dead and more than 53 people injured. Like with other massacres, Jones didn’t hesitate to put out his uncorroborated assertions that the government once again let the tragedy occur to pass “hate laws to deal with right-wingers.”
Jones verbally attacked the victims, saying, both groups were working to promote the idea of pedophilia and child abuse in the U.S.
Conspiracies around the Islamic State soon became a scapegoat for Jones and were frequently presented alongside the false-flag narrative. This theme continued into 2017, when a gunman opened fire from his hotel suite onto a crowd of concertgoers in Paradise, Nevada. The attack marks the deadliest mass shooting event in U.S. history, with 58 people killed and more than 800 injured. Jones, of course, created his own explanation and falsely labeled the shooter an “agent of the Islamic State, a leftist activist and an anti-Trump radical.” Law enforcement agencies found no evidence any of the claims made by Jones were accurate.
The continued use of misinformation would eventually catch up to Jones during the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As news developed around the incident that left 17 dead, Jones immediately began reporting uncorroborated information to his audience. This included misidentifying the shooter by sharing an image of a Massachusetts business owner who had nothing to do with the events in Parkland. Online, Jones labeled the misidentified man, Marcel Fontaine, as a communist. This sparked outrage from the Infowars audience and resulted in harassment campaigns being launched at Fontaine. Like with other tragedies, Jones also went after the survivors of the massacre, insinuating they could have been “crisis actors” and part of a “deep state false-flag operation.”
The attack set off the far right after survivors responded to the tragedy by kick-starting a national movement to call for gun reform. Unsurprisingly, Jones was unrelenting in characterizing the victims as “actors,” that he believed, were being “coached” to attack the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. Jones directed much of the vitriol at one student in particular, David Hogg, who was 17 at the time and later became the one of the main faces of the anti-gun violence March For Our Lives movement. Hogg, the son of a former FBI agent, was accused by Jones of potentially being part of a larger “cover-up” to push an anti-gun agenda.
Lawsuits pile up
As the prominence of Infowars grew, so did the lawsuits in response to the materials circulated by Jones and his staff. Cases in recent years include:
Chobani Yogurt: In April 2017, the yogurt company Chobani sued Jones and Infowars for defamation, along with company Free Speech Systems LLC, for spreading “defamatory” and “false” statements about the company. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, sought legal remedies following accusations made on Infowars.com and “The Alex Jones Show.” Statements targeting the yogurt factory in Twin Falls, Idaho, alleged the factory was “importing migrant rapists” and was to blame for a rise in tuberculosis cases in the area. None of the accusations made by Jones or Infowars checked out.
Ulukaya, who started Chobani in 2007, moved to the U.S. in 1994 to study English and has since been an advocate for people immigrating to the U.S. Over the years, Ulukaya has employed hundreds of refugees coming to the U.S. from such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey. As a result of the misinformation being peddled by Jones and Infowars, Ulukaya and his company received a flurry of online harassment.
In May 2017, Jones settled the defamation case brought forth by Chobani and issued an apology on his radio show. In the apology, Jones admitted Chobani had been mischaracterized and agreed to redact statements previously published by his outlet, agreeing to not repost the baseless claims.
Unite the Right (UTR): The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 brought together a collection of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and militia extremists to protest the city council’s plans to remove the monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. In the chaos neo-Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring more than 30 other people.
During the ordeal, Brennan Gilmore, a Charlottesville resident and counterprotester, used his cellphone to film the attack and upload it to Twitter. His video went viral and was picked up by Infowars and other far-right conspiracy platforms. In the suit, Infowars is alleged to have shared content that insinuated Gilmore had ties to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, as well being linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The platform then accused Gilmore of previously helping overthrow the Ukrainian government before sparking chaos in Charlottesville with the goal of getting former President Trump out of office.
Gilmore attributed the wave of harassment and threats he received to the narrative created by Jones and his supporters. This included doxxing campaigns targeting Gilmore and other members of his family and sparked “an overwhelming volume of hate mail and death threats, hacking attempts, and even in-person harassment on the streets of Charlottesville,” according to the complaint.
Gilmore argued Jones and other extremists used his employment background and ties to Democratic politicians, as well as to the State Department, to vilify him and use him as a scapegoat to create distance between Jones’ extremist beliefs and Heyer’s death.
In March 2022, Jones settled the defamation suit and agreed to pay Gilmore $50,000.
Employees go to EEOC: Complaints around Infowars didn’t stem only from the outside; in February 2018, two former employees filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Rob Jacobson and Ashley Beckford, two former staffers, filed complaints with the federal agency after both individuals alleged they were subjected to harassment including racial and gender discrimination.
In the complaints, Jacobson claimed Jones and other staff frequently mocked and ridiculed him because of his Jewish background. He also claimed he was referred to as “The Jewish Individual,” “The Resident Jew” and “Yacobson” while also being subjected to inappropriate pranks, sometimes involving other staff displaying gay porn on his work computer. According to the complaint, Jacobson eventually complained of his working conditions only to be met with retaliation in the form of being passed over for promotions and eventually being fired.
Beckford, the second employee, complained of similar mistreatment. According to her complaint, Beckford claimed she was subjected to racial epithets, denied an equivalent salary to her white coworkers, and sexually harassed until she spoke out and was eventually terminated. Like Jacobson, Beckford points to instances where she claims Jones and other staff members made inappropriate comments because of her skin tone as well as recalling an instance where she says a producer called her a “coon.”
The cases are still pending.
Misidentifying a shooter: In February 2018, Marcel Fontaine, a Boston resident, was thrown into the spotlight after Infowars identified him as the shooter in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland. In the suit, filed in April of that year, Fontaine’s attorney argued his client was targeted online and faced threats after an image of the plaintiff was circulated by Infowars. The suit named Infowars LLC, Free Speech Systems LLC and Infowars writer Kit Daniels as defendants. Fontaine sued arguing he had suffered defamation and emotional distress.
Sandy Hook lawsuit: After 20 children were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, Infowars was a main propagator of conspiracy theories surrounding the killings. After peddling the idea that children killed in the shooting were “crisis actors,” the families of two of the victims filed two separate lawsuits accusing Jones of defamation. Neil Heslin and Leonard Pozner, along with Veronique De La Rosa, parents of two of the slain children, sued Jones, Infowars and Free Speech Systems LLC in April 2018 seeking $1 million in damages. In addition to Jones, Infowars and Free Speech Systems, Heslin also included Infowars personality Owen Shroyer in his suit.
In the fallout of the Sandy Hook shooting, Pozner accused Jones of using the incident to push his own agenda, arguing the shooting was part of an act to attack Second Amendment rights. Allegations Jones made included pushing the ideas that the individuals killed were “crisis actors,” that the shooting was “staged,” and that the deaths were “fake.” These actions inevitably led to large-scale harassment that included doxing, stalking, online harassment and threats. The harassment campaigns became so toxic that Pozner eventually moved his family to a new area in hopes of getting away from the turmoil. To his dismay, the harassment didn’t end, and conspiracy theorists continued stalking Pozner, even going so far as to track him down during his court appearances.
Like with Pozner and De La Rosa, whose son Noah was killed in the shooting, Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, suffered a wave of harassment after Infowars began disseminating misinformation about the Sandy Hook shooting. In his suit, Heslin said Jones accused him of “lying about holding the body of his dead son.”
Families rally against Jones: The lawsuits surrounding coverage of the Sandy Hook shooting only continued after several families and an FBI agent came together in May of 2018 to sue Jones for defamation. The families of six slain children and agent William Aldenburg, who was on the scene on the day of the shooting, accused Jones and his team of amplifying falsehoods and conspiracies which resulted in harassment and abuse to the family members. The suit also named additional defendants including Wolfgang Halbig; Prison Planet TV LLC, another one of Jones’ outlets; Cory Sklanka, Halbig’s associate; Genesis Communication Network Inc.; and Midas Resources.
The suit cited Halbig, a conspiracy theorist and former Infowars contributor, as one of the main purveyors of targeted harassment. Halbig was known for confronting family members in real life, releasing their personal information, taunting families online and insinuating Aldenburg was a crisis actor. According to The New York Times, Halbig was arrested in January 2020 and charged with unlawful possession of personal identification after he “repeatedly emailed Mr. Pozner’s Social Security number, date of birth and other information to a long list of recipients.” Halbig was released after posting $5,000 cash bond.
Scarlett Lewis stands firm: Apart from the lawsuit Neil Heslin filed after the death of his son, Jesse Lewis, Scarlett Lewis the mother of the child, filed a separate lawsuit against Jones, Infowars LLC and Free Speech Systems LLC in October 2018. In the suit, Lewis charged that the defendants mocked her and other families after victims died in the Sandy Hook shooting. Lewis argued that the harassment campaigns continued for years, resulting in emotional distress.
The Sandy Hook judgments: As the cases moved forward, Jones’ legal team took a hit when in Oct. 2019, Judge Scott Jenkins of Travis District Court in Texas imposed monetary sanctions after Jones’ legal team failed to produce necessary legal documents for discovery in the Jones v. Heslin case. As a result, Jones was ordered to pay approximately $25,000 to Heslin’s legal team for their time in preparing for the discovery phase that never happened.
Jones’ lack of cooperation and refusal to provide necessary records ultimately backfired when in December 2019, Jones was once again ordered to pay Heslin approximately $100,000 to cover legal fees and court expenses. The total was broken down in two parts. First, Jones was ordered to pay Heslin $65,825 after failing to provide a list of witnesses and crucial documentation needed for the case. Second, Judge Jenkins issued a separate order requiring Jones to pay Heslin $34,323 in legal fees after Jones tried and failed to get the case dismissed.
To Jones’ dismay, in September 2021 Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued default judgments in the Pozner/De La Rosa and Heslin cases in the Civil District Court of Travis County, Texas. Jones and Infowars were found liable for all damages and ordered to pay a yet to be determined amount for his consistent spread of conspiracies and misinformation around the Sandy Hook shooting. Jones’ loss came after he failed to provide documents needed for the discovery and depositions.
Pepe and copyright infringement: The Sandy Hook trials are just one kind of lawsuit that Jones and his network have faced in recent years. In addition to the numerous defamation cases filed by Sandy Hook parents, in May 2018 Infowars was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Matt Furie, creator of the popular internet character Pepe the Frog. Furie sued Infowars and Free Speech Systems LLC for copyright infringement after, he says, the outlet began selling and profiting off internet products using the Pepe image to promote hate. Jones and Furie eventually settled out of court with Jones agreeing to pay $15,000 to Furie, with $14,000 going to Furie and $1,000 going to the amphibian conservatory Save the Frogs.
Infighting at Infowars: Cases continued to pile up for Jones after former Infowars D.C. Bureau Chief Jerome Corsi, with the help of Larry Klayman, sued Jones and others tied to the Infowars network for defamation. Additional defendants included Infowars personality and reporter Owen Shroyer, and David Jones, Alex Jones’ father. In the suit, Corsi alleged Jones and Infowars associate Roger Stone made defamatory statements questioning the state of his mental health. At one point, Corsi was getting dragged into the Russian collusion investigation led by Robert Mueller. As The Daily Beast reported in 2019, Corsi hinted he might cooperate, prompting swift backlash from far-right figures such as Jones and Stone and kickstarting the infighting between conspiracy theorists. As of June 2022, the lawsuit appears to be pending.
Jones sues Jan. 6 House committee: Aside from spreading conspiracies through Infowars, Jones was one of main propagators of the Big Lie after the 2020 election, driving him and other extremists to D.C. on Jan. 6. Jones, who had been touring the country voicing his outrage over what he called election fraud, was present outside the Capitol building on the day of the insurrection. As a result, Jones was subpoenaed in November 2021 by the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack. As investigations remain active, the committee has focused on a series of Trump rallies that rallied crowds ahead of the insurrection, seeking to collect information on participants and donors as well as to assess whether there was any level of coordination between organizers and members of Congress. Jones responded by suing the Jan. 6 House Committee, arguing he had no intentions of handing over his phone or other related documents. In late January 2022, when called on to give his testimony of the events preceding the insurrection by the House Committee, Jones claims to have responded by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights “almost 100 times.”
By spring 2022, the families involved in the Sandy Hook lawsuit hit a new obstacle when Infowars filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection against the defamation suits. Jones, who filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas, encouraged his followers to support him via product purchases on Infowars.com. Jones argued that his plethora of legal battles had left him in a bad financial state, and he estimated his assets to be around $50,000 while facing liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. Skeptics argued Jones’ move to file for bankruptcy is an attempt to hide his assets from plaintiffs.
Alongside Infowars, two other Jones companies, Prison Planet TV and IW Health, also filed for bankruptcy. Naturally, the allegations left some of the families questioning the legitimacy of Jones’ claims, but the decision to file for bankruptcy came after a separate lawsuit filed in April 2022 against Jones.
The April 2022 lawsuit was filed by Neil Heslin, Scarlett Lewis, Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa – who are the parents of two of the slain Sandy Hook children -- along with Marcel Fontaine, the innocent man Jones misidentified as the Parkland shooter. Defendants include Jones, Infowars LLC, Free Speech Systems LLC, PQPR Holdings Limited LLC, JLJR Holdings LLC, PLJR Holdings LLC, Carol Jones, David Jones, PQPR Holdings LLC, JLJR Holdings Limited LLC, AEJ Holdings LLC and AEJ Trust 2018.
Plaintiffs argued that Jones diverted large sums of money to shell companies “owned or operated directly or indirectly by Jones, his parents, and his children through an alphabet soup of shell entities.”
Early news reports indicate the families are hoping to attain a court order to “void the transfers and an injunction barring Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, from transferring assets in the future.” The Sandy Hook families and Fontaine allege the Jones debtors diverted his assets, pointing to a timeframe between 2018 and 2021 when Jones drew $18 million from Free Speech Systems on top of his yearly salary of $600,000. The lawsuit highlights that the draws occurred at a time when Free Speech Systems was operating at a net loss.
A key observation outlined in the suit highlights a questionable debt Jones is alleged to have owed PQPR, totaling $54 million. The lawsuit alleges that PQPR can be traced back to Jones’ relatives and that the company filed a UCC Financing Statement claiming a security interest only about three months after the appellate decision allowed the Sandy Hook and Fontaine defamation cases against Jones to proceed.
The supposed $54 million debt would claim everything owned by Free Speech Systems, and details appear to show that even with the outstanding debt, Free Speech Systems and PQPR continued to do business for a seven-year period. Plaintiffs allege the transfer of money from Jones to debtors began only after the defamation cases against Jones began moving forward. Regular transfers from Free Speech Systems to PQPR were initiated the month the default judgment was rendered.
The creation of Infowars has opened the door for a one-stop shop where extremists have found a home and platform to voice their dangerous and bigoted views. Over the years, Infowars has embraced a wide range of extremists including antigovernment militia leaders and KKK members.
Stewart Rhodes frequently made appearances on Infowars, where he spread antigovernment propaganda to the Infowars audience. Rhodes, leader of the militant group the Oath Keepers, gained national notoriety after members of his group helped storm the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Members who were present that day now face a wide range of charges including, but not limited to, seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding.
In the days leading up to the general election, Rhodes made an appearance on Infowars where he threw out the baseless claim that polls needed to be monitored in case far-left groups mobilized to threaten Trump voters. In his interview, Rhodes also peddled the notion that liberals were going to try and steal the election from Trump, an idea that was bolstered and eventually became known as the “Big Lie.”
Rhodes isn’t the only antigovernment extremist to become a regular guest on Infowars. The antigovernment novelist and conspiracy theorist Matthew Bracken is frequently brought on to give his take on issues related to immigration, Islam and government overreach. Online, Bracken dabbles with common antigovernment tropes, peddling fears around gun confiscations and Sharia law. His novels are filled with sexual violence and anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim tropes, always circling back to the idea that an invasion from foreigners poses an existential threat to the U.S.
Although Jones is known to align himself with extremist leaders in the far right, he’s also helped newcomers establish themselves and cultivate a following. Kaitlin Bennett, better known as the Kent State gun girl, made headlines in 2018 when she open-carried an AR-15 on the Kent State University campus. Bennett eventually went on to become a Infowars personality, conducting interviews and attending events as a reporter for the network. Bennett eventually developed a large enough following to start her own conspiracy-fueled outlet dubbed Liberty Hangout. Through her channels and donation accounts, Bennett is now able to profit off internet content that’s engrossed in anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant and antigovernment rhetoric. In 2020, an antifascist group published a report showing that Bennett and her now husband, Justin Moldow, had taken part in chats that were filled with antisemitic tropes. In 2016 Liberty Hangout also faced scrutiny when a poll on its Twitter account questioned the atrocities that had taken place in the Holocaust.
Along with platforming conspiracy theorists, Jones has also platformed the founders of hate groups, including Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys. In a 2018 appearance, McInnes joined Jones on the Infowars set as the latter went into a meltdown, railing against child molesters. Gavin isn’t the only Proud Boys associate to make an appearance on Infowars; in 2020, former Infowars host and failed congressional candidate for California’s 12th District, DeAnna Lorraine, interviewed Enrique Tarrio, former head of the Proud Boys. Tarrio used the opportunity to gloss over his supposed explosion in membership numbers, saying the Proud Boys had amassed “22,000 members worldwide.”
Alongside platforming such hate figures as McInnes and Tarrio, Jones has also crossed paths with “alt-right” figure Stefan Molyneux. Molyneux, who gained a large following on such online spaces as YouTube, frequently cites pseudoscientific works to back up his hateful beliefs that non-white people are inferior to white people. Jones has not only had Molyneux on as a guest, but also helped promote his works.
Going a step further, other guests have included white supremacists like Nick Fuentes and David Duke, both of whom have appeared as guests on Infowars. Jones, who refutes claims that he is an extremist, can frequently be found alongside hate figures at counterprotests and other events. More recently, Jones was present with other far-right leaders in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection.
The constant platforming of hate figures, combined with incessant spread of conspiracy theories, has resulted in an all-out ban of Infowars from mainstream online spaces. The media crackdowns began in August 2018, when major tech companies banned Jones, Infowars and associated channels for violating terms of service. Today such companies as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, PayPal and Apple have booted Infowars and Jones, citing his constant spread of misinformation and promotion of hate-filled narratives.
Aligning with Trump
During the four years that Trump was in office, he received overwhelming support from the far right, especially Jones, who was one of the first extremists to embrace the former president. As part of his campaign to reach out to all factions of the right, Trump appeared on Infowars in December 2015. Jones, who is typically critical of government institutions and politicians, showered Trump with praise, saying, “My audience, 90% of them, they support you.” Trump, who appeared to be relishing the exchange, closed the interview by telling Jones: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”
The unwavering support for Trump continued after the 2020 general election with Jones opting to pick up the “Big Lie.” Infowars fully adopted the narrative that election fraud must have contributed to Joe Biden’s win as the 46th president. Refusing to accept the outcome of the election, Jones and others led “Stop the Steal” rallies to protest the 2020 election results. At one point, Jones went on what he called the “Stop the Steal Caravan,” a cross-country trip with stops in several states to protest the Biden win.
These rallies and political stunts culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection where Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building to try and stop the certification of the election results. In the days leading up to the chaos, the Infowars Parler account boasted to its 327,000 followers, saying, “Today is the day - @alexjones leads largest patriot movement in history through Washington D.C.!”
In March 2021, Hatewatch broke the story that Jones had secretly become disgruntled with Trump. The outburst, made amid filming a propaganda film, detailed the disillusionment Jones was starting to feel with Trump in 2019, but was brought to light after the filmmaker was irked by what he perceived to be Jones exploiting Trump supporters for profit. The filmmaker, Caolan Robertson, told Hatewatch that Jones had previously bragged about making $60 million in 2018 and had reportedly paid Robertson $16,000 per month for his work.
As investigations into Jan. 6 continued throughout 2021, Jones was eventually subpoenaed by the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack, a committee tasked with investigating the activities on the day of the insurrection and the organizers who led groups to D.C. Jones, who helped spread messaging around a supposed stolen election, responded by suing the committee arguing he was merely exercising his First Amendment right. Jones eventually testified in a closed deposition where he claims to have pleaded the Fifth Amendment “almost 100 times.”
Although Jones helped spread misinformation ahead of the insurrection, it is unclear to what extent Jones had a role in financing and coordinating the mayhem. As The New York Times reported in March, Jones has a long history of leveraging his name to help fundraise large sums of money. After raising $93,000 to rebuild the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and helping Infowars bring in more than $50,000 on a yearly basis during the Trump presidency, Jones appears to have inspired at least one heiress to help fund pro-Trump events that preceded the insurrection. Julie Fancelli, the 72-year-old heiress to the Publix supermarket chain, is reportedly a fan of Jones, leading her to donate $650,000 to organizations that rallied Trump supporters in D.C.
At least $200,000 of the donated money was deposited into a business account linked to Jones, according to the Jan. 6 House committee investigating the insurrection. Because Jones has refused to cooperate with lawsuits, his financial records have been a closely guarded secret, leaving reporters and victims of harassment left wondering just how much money Jones amassed in recent years.
In April 2022, The New York Times reported that Jones was in engaged in discussions with the Justice Department to potentially strike a deal and discuss his role in the rally that led up to the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol building.
Norm Pattis, Jones’ lawyer, said Jones was interested in talking to prosecutors but maintained that his client had not engaged in any “criminal wrongdoing” on Jan. 6. As part of his terms for discussion, Jones had requested immunity from prosecution.
In August 2011, Jones featured an article on Infowars that called the Department of Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something” terrorism-awareness campaign a racist conspiracy to “characterize predominantly white, middle class, politically engaged Americans as domestic extremists.”
The program, which actually encourages people to consider “behavior, rather than appearance” when considering whether to report suspicious activity, entailed a series of public service announcements designed to drive home that point. What piqued Jones was a videotaped 10-minute public service announcement in which most of the “terrorists” are white, while the citizens who report their suspicious activities are all minorities.
“What do you think of [DHS’] rebranding that the terrorists aren’t Al Qaeda anymore?” he said on his Aug. 18, 2011, radio show. “It’s that veteran, it’s that gun owner, it’s that farmer … it’s that white person. Whites are the new Al Qaeda.”
In 2021, FBI director Christopher Wray told Congress that domestic terrorists were a major concern for the country with white supremacists composing “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio overall.” The findings, which were elevated in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, pointed out that right-wing extremism has long been minimized, with much of the U.S.’s resources instead being diverted to monitoring al-Qaeda and Isis. While his style plays well with his acolytes, it has notably failed in several high-profile media appearances. During a January 2013 gun-control discussion with CNN’s Piers Morgan following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Jones became extremely agitated and animated while shouting Morgan down.
Invited on the show partly as a result of his online petition to deport Morgan, a British citizen, because of Morgan’s support for a nationwide ban on military-style assault weapons, Jones was unrelenting from the start. He dove into a rambling diatribe involving Stalin, Hitler, Mao, black helicopters, megabanks, rape in India and psychologists who overprescribe drugs. “I’m here to tell you,” he shouted, “1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms! It doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street, begging to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them! Do you understand?”
Several months later, in June 2013, Jones was at it again during a discussion on the BBC’s “Sunday Politics” show about the Bilderberg Group, which was having its annual meeting in Watford, England, and is one of Jones’ prime villains in the globalist financial conspiracy. As the segment ended with Jones once again shouting at the top of his lungs, exasperated presenter Andrew Neil proclaimed, “You are the worst person I have ever interviewed,” and “We have an idiot on the show today,” while twirling his fingers around his ear.
For Jones, far-right conspiracies serve as simple answers to complex real-world problems such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. In the initial aftermath of the terrorist attack that left three people dead and more than 260 injured, Jones used his platform to spread the baseless claim that the attack was a “false-flag” operation. In his conspiracy, the attack must have been orchestrated by a government entity to further expand the powers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). Jones promulgated the notion that the bombing was an attack on civil liberties, once again depicting federal agencies as cynical and oppressive.
Such meltdowns do little to advance Jones’ cause with a mainstream audience. But Jones manipulates the psychological fears of the vulnerable into complete acceptance of nearly anything he says. Wrapping himself in the American flag, he invokes Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as his icons in a manipulated form of false patriotism common to the antigovernment movement.
Jones is surely most infamous for his many predictions. But, not surprisingly, his overall accuracy rate is infinitesimally low. Jones continues to see the specter of a globalist “New World Order” in almost every major and minor event that occurs in the United States. Following the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, in early 2016, he made numerous comments claiming that some of the occupiers were likely government or “Foundation” provocateurs. These supposed infiltrators, according to Jones, were acting on behalf of and at the direction of the Obama administration and globalist elites whose ultimate goal he sees as the institution of martial law and the total end to American sovereignty.
In keeping with other conspiracy propagandists in the antigovernment movement, Jones relied heavily on themes and misconceptions that cast doubt on the intentions of government institutions. During national tragedies, if questions go unanswered, individuals in government agencies at both the state and federal level are frequently singled out as potential culprits. Platforms such as Infowars use stories condemning supposed widespread corruption a foundational entry points into conspiracy theories. As Jones gained notoriety online, his campaigns grew to target not just representatives, government agencies and big-name celebrities, but also anyone who supported these entities. At best, these conspiracies have turned into the butt of online jokes, and at worst, they have endangered and tormented individuals who have been personally affected by mass tragedies.