Wednesday, September 27

Sentenced to pay a fine of 4.1 million a propagator of conspiracy theories in the United States

US radio personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was fined $4.1 million on Thursday for spreading lies about a school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults in 2012.

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A jury has sentenced Jones to pay the penalty for damages caused to the parents of one of the shooting victims, Jesse Lewis, who was 6 years old when the killer broke into the school and ended his life and the of his classmates.

From his InfoWars podcast, Jones spent years spreading the theory that this shooting, which occurred at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown (Connecticut, USA) in December 2012, was a “farce”, to which several of the families of the victims sued him.

When the complaints began to be filed, the radio commentator – known for his far-right positions – changed his speech and went on to acknowledge that the shooting was real. Even so, the theory propagated by Jones led several of his followers to threaten and harass the parents of the victims, including those of little Jesse, whom they accused of lying about the death of his son with Political purposes.

The $4.1 million the jury has awarded the victims is well below the $150 million they were originally seeking, though a second trial still needs to be held to determine whether Jones is also obligated to pay punitive damages, i.e. for engaging in particularly offensive behaviour.

Last Friday, Jones’s company, Free Speech Systems, declared bankruptcy, in a move that the victims interpreted precisely as part of a strategy to reduce the amount of the then foreseeable penalty.