By: Arianna Santiago
Alex Jones is a right wing extremist radio host and conspiracy theorist whose radical ideas and beliefs shot him to fame. Jones has recently been the subject of multiple lawsuits for his statements regarding the Sandy Hook school shooting.
His radio show, Infowars, is mainly where he proposes and discusses several theories. Jones is notoriously known for his beliefs of several nationwide tragedies, being ‘hoaxed’ or a result of the federal government.
Most infamously, he claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012–one of the deadliest shootings to date–was a ‘staged hoax’ and the parents of the victims were ‘crisis actors.’
“If you can really get up in the morning and live your life by these values and ideals then keep it to yourself, but to those poor families and little kids that died when should be learning how to color, should never ever have to talk or hear this man,” said senior advertising and public relations major Michael Senkow.
Jones preached these falsehoods on his various platforms resulting in his followers
taking his words for truth and harassing the victims’ families–especially the parents.
Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, parents of victim Jesse Lewis, sued Jones and his media company Free Speech Systems for $150 million for defamation damages. In August of this year, a jury gathered in Texas for the trial. This trial was the first time Jones was being held financially liable about the 2012 shooting.
The jury ruled that Jones would have to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages as well as $45.2 million in punitive damages.
Jones stated during the trial that if the jury were to award anything over $2 million it would “sink us.” Free Speech Systems in fact did start to sink; During the first week of the trial, they filed for bankruptcy.
“Jones’s real source of profit is Free Speech Systems, LLC, which runs his Infowars website. However, the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, and will remain insolvent until its bankruptcy reorganization is complete, which may take months or years,” said criminology and criminal justice professor Cedric Michel.
This trial was only the beginning of many. Recently, another defamation suit, by the eight families and an FBI agent who was one of the first present on the 2012 shooting scene, resulted in a Connecticut jury ruling Jones pay $965 million in emotional damages.
According to NBC News, Jones stated on his show, “Ain’t going to be happening. Ain’t no money.”
“I understand Jones has publicly stated that he would not pay. Technically, families can try to immediately seize Jones’s personal assets, though I doubt his personal net worth would be enough to pay all damages,” stated Michel.
Jones has a long road ahead with paying these damages as well as grappling with his businesses bankruptcy.
“I wish for him to feel the repercussions of his actions and feel the consequences for acting like an unethical, immoral and unkind person,” said Senkow.