Alex Jones Set to Pay $1 Billion for Defamation

Percy Bartelt, staff writer

Trigger warning: mentions of school shootings

On Oct. 12, well-known alt-right radio show host Alex Jones appealed in court to pay $965 million to the families of eight Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent who first responded to the scene at the elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012.

Alex Jones is regarded as one of the most controversial radio hosts in recent years, this opinion coming from various social media sites that Jones and his fans are on. Jones is mostly known for using his radio show, “The Alex Jones Show,” to elaborate on many alt-right conspiracy theories, which he believes are true, and to spread information that impartial sources find to be untrue. Some of the conspiracy theories that Jones has mentioned on his show include the 9/11 tragedy being an inside job of the United States government, NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem is an act of supporting ‘white genocide,’ and industrial run off is a chemical warfare technique to turn people gay. Now, one conspiracy that Jones explained on his show is having some serious negative repercussions for him. 

Jones had claimed that Sandy Hook was a hoax staged by the media to promote gun control laws, going as far as to say the families of the Sandy Hook victims were “crisis actors” acting as grieving parents, as reported by Today news. This claim even compelled some of Jones’ fans to harass the families of the victims, calling them liars and vandalizing victims’ gravestones. Another family reported having distressing photos sent to them because they were “crisis actors,” had personal threats made against their lives/bodies, and so much more. 

Going into the trial, Jones was already found guilty by the appointed judge, but it was up to the six-member jury about how much he would be paying the families in retributions. Today news reports that Jones is facing charges of “defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the state Unfair Trade Practices Act […].” The jury concluded that the eight families and the FBI agent on scene will independently receive different amounts ranging from $29 million to $120 million.

After the verdict and appeals were announced, Jones had stated in court that he has already apologized numerous times and is “done saying sorry” and stands by the idea that the devastation that took place in December of 2012 is a hoax. Jones is also fighting the verdict by putting in an appeal to avoid paying by using the recent bankruptcy of his company. 

This was a four-week long trial in which Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory caused harm to the families of the victims from the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting that occured back in 2012. Ultimately the jury decided on $965 million in total to the eloted party for damages done by Jones’ words.

This is the second Sandy Hook-related trial that Jones has been a part of. Back in August, the lawyer representing the families of the victims reportedly suggested that the jury agree to order Jones to pay $550 million for his hoax conspiracy. This would have equated to one dollar for every view on Jones’ Sandy Hook episode from 2012 to 2018. Jones ended up paying $50 million to the family of one boy who was killed.

This is not the first time Alex Jones has been in hot water for the content of his show. Back in 2018, Jones’ podcast and radio show episodes and streams were removed from Youtube, Apple, Spotify and Pinterest for Jones’ for violating the apps’ content guidelines. Jones also was banned from Facebook, along with other accounts, in 2019 for the same reason, in which both cases were due to the sharing of hate speech and promoting hateful ideologies.