On March 30th, a Connecticut judge found Infowars host Alex Jones in contempt of court for failing to appear for a deposition in a defamation suit brought by the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims. Jones has been sued by several families over his claims that the Sandy Hook shootings were a “giant hoax” and had been staged by the government to undermine the Second Amendment.
Disinformation is more pernicious and widespread today than at any other point in history, largely because of social media and the Internet. For instance, it is now widely known—and verified by the U.S. intelligence community—that Russians interfered with the 2016 presidential election.
On Monday, November 15th, a superior court judge in Connecticut ruled that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was liable by default in a defamation lawsuit. Judge Barbara Bellis issued the default judgement after years of Jones’ refusal to turn over financial and web analytics data that had been ordered by the court.
A district court judge for Travis County, Texas issued a default judgment against Alex Jones for failing to comply with discovery requests in the defamation suits brought by two families in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. The shooting, which occurred on December 14, 2012, resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six adult school staff members. The rulings mean that the suits will proceed to trial to determine how much Jones and his media company, Infowars, will pay the parents for defamation and emotional stress.
On January 22nd, the Texas Supreme Court rejected conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ request to toss four defamation lawsuits filed by parents whose children died in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The suits claim that Jones' statements calling the mass shooting a “giant hoax,” and accusing the parents of faking their children’s death were defamatory and caused the families emotional distress.
On November 24th, Fox News settled a lawsuit brought by the parents of Seth Rich, a former Democratic Committee staffer who a Fox reporter falsely accused of leaking thousands of Democratic Party emails to Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.
(Available without registration!) Alex Jones and his website Infowars made repeated claims that the 2012 murder of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was a “giant hoax,” possibly instigating a number of his followers to harass the families of the victims. Does the First Amendment protect Alex Jones’ speech?
Among those suspended include InfoWars personality Owen Shroyer, who had recently used Twitter to promote a rally in Austin, Texas against the state’s stay-at-home order. Shroyer has used his accounts to discredit reports that hospitals are overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, though his account was not removed for this reason.