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Alex Jones’ Infowars files for bankruptcy

Infowars, the flagship news site of conservative political performance artist Alex Jones, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Two other sites owned by Jones, PrisonPlanet TV and Infowars Health, have made the same application.

Infowars claims to have no more than $50,000 in assets, with liabilities running from $1 million to $10 million, and the other two operations report similar numbers. While Jones has not made the reasons for his filing public, he has been embroiled in multiple expensive defamation cases in recent years, at the same time that revenue from his news enterprise has been choked off by his removal from mainstream social media websites.

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Jones was found liable in November for damages in three lawsuits filed by family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, regarding claims made on his show that the shooting had been staged to bring on stricter gun control legislation. In September, he was found liable in a similar lawsuit filed by relatives of Sandy Hook families living in Texas. 

However, it’s not clear how much Jones will have to pay in each case. He had previously offered the plaintiffs in Connecticut $120,000 each, arguing he was too sick to be deposed in court, but Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis instead fined him $75,000 for contempt of court – a fee that was refunded when Jones finally did turn up to speak. 

It’s therefore possible that the bankruptcy may have been a tactic to stall for time, as filing for Chapter 11 pauses all civil litigation and allows companies to prepare turnaround plans while remaining operational. The Infowars and PrisonPlanet sites remain online, as does Jones’ supplement marketplace Infowars Health.

The radio host settled another defamation lawsuit with former State Department employee Brendan Gilmore last month for $50,000, admitting he had no evidence that Gilmore had been involved in a conspiracy between the CIA and currency speculator and conservative punching bag George Soros to orchestrate the violence that broke out at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. 

READ MORE: Free speech, drugs, COVID controversies: Why Joe Rogan remains the world’s most popular podcaster

Jones was one of the earliest political figures to be deplatformed from social media in a seemingly coordinated fashion, as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms all banned him in the space of a month in 2018. While his websites have been decried for publishing conspiracy theories and supposedly fake news, the platforms that banned him insisted they did so because of violations of their rules against hate speech.

Since Jones’ deplatforming, the practice has become much more widespread.

© 2022, paradox. All rights reserved.

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