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.
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.
On December 20th, a Texas district court judge ordered Alex Jones to pay more than $100,000 in legal fees in a defamation suit brought by the father of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. The defamation suit brought by Neil Heslin is one of several suits filed against Jones by the families who lost children in the school shooting on December 14, 2012.
A Wisconsin judge ruled that the co-editors of a book that claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax were guilty of defamation. Following the December 2012 mass shooting, James Fetzer and Michael Palecek published a book, “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control,” claiming that the federal agency had staged the event to promote gun control. The book also claimed the Leonard Pozner, the father of the youngest Sandy Hook victim, was complicit in the conspiracy, and had fabricated his son’s death certificate.
Alex Jones and InfoWars Twitter accounts have been permanently removed from the platform following a live-streamed confrontation on Periscope between CNN's Oliver Darcy and Alex Jones on Capital Hill, where Jones ranted at Darcy and about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who was on the Hill for congressional hearings. Twitter cited a violation of their abusive behavior policy as the reason for the move.