Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ bid to have a defamation lawsuit leveled against him by the parents of a Sandy Hook victim thrown out was denied on Thursday by a district judge in Austin, Texas.
Judge Scott Jenkins ruled that Jones must stand trial in a defamation lawsuit filed by Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa. The couple lost their son Noah during the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. Since then, Pozner and De La Rosa have been forced to move seven times because of persistent death threats and harassment from conspiracy theorists, who claim that the shooting was a false-flag to promote gun control and that the victims were all actors.
Jones has repeatedly pushed this false-flag theory. Commenting on a CNN interview between Anderson Cooper and De La Rosa last April for instance, Jones said “these holier-than-thou people… they go [gestures]. They glitch. They’re recycling a green-screen behind them.” Jones’ baseless, malicious, and repeated attacks led Pozner and De La Rosa to sue him for more than $1 million. Jones’ lawyer, Mark Enoch, claimed on Thursday that his client was simply “dispensing political speech,” and therefore protected by the First Amendment.
The lawsuit is one of a series of woes, legal and otherwise, that Jones and his channel Infowars are facing. Another parent of a Sandy Hook victim, Neil Heslin, is also suing Jones for defamation — although the judge has yet to rule as to whether this lawsuit can proceed. Six other families and an FBI agent have filed their own similar lawsuits.
Jones is also facing a lawsuit from Brennan Gilmore, a Foreign Service Officer who filmed James Alex Fields murdering a woman when he rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last August. Jones later claimed that Gilmore was a “deep state operative” which, according to Gilmore’s lawsuit, inspired death threats and harassment against him.
Meanwhile, Big Tech is finally cracking down on Jones’ absurd and damaging conspiracy theories. Earlier in August, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube all banned Alex Jones from their platforms for violating community guidelines, while Facebook imposed a 30-day ban and said the pages would be removed permanently if Jones didn’t appeal.
While the bans won’t stop Jones from getting his conspiratorial message out, they have severely limited his reach, especially with his YouTube channel, which has 2.4 million subscribers. His attempts to set up an alternative broadcasting platform on Vimeo immediately backfired as well when Vimeo promptly shut down his channel.
Twitter, on the other hand, did not immediately follow in the footsteps of YouTube and Facebook in banning Jones. Even after CNN unearthed tweets highlighting conspiracies about the Sandy Hook shooting, as well as ones targeting media figures for harassment — in clear violation of the site’s own policies — Twitter declined to suspend Jones. The reason they gave was that the abusive tweets in question were posted before December 2017, when the company implemented stricter community standards.
On August 15th however, the company did ban Jones for just one week, on the grounds that he violated community guidelines by calling on supporters to “have their battle rifles ready.”