Infowars host Alex Jones is to conspiracy theories what Jerry Garcia was to psychedelic rock. In 2019, the country’s preeminent theory-without-facts guru was ordered to pay $100,000 in legal fees for the father of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre, which killed six educators and 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. Jones used his platform to spread a conspiracy theory that the massacre never happened — it was all a hoax, the 6- and 7-year-old victims were child actors, and their parents were paid to lie. His followers bombarded the still-mourning families with harassment, accusations, and even death threats. It was arguably the grossest, but certainly not the first or only, false-flag conspiracy theory. In the midst of Jones facing multiple defamation lawsuits, Infowars filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, estimating assets of $50,000 or less and liabilities of $1 million to $10 million. Relatives of some of the children and teachers killed in the massacre were listed as creditors in the bankruptcy filing. Jones is still going to come up short, though: A jury decided that he should pay $1 billion in compensatory damages to Sandy Hook families for his outlandish and unfounded lies while a Texas judge decided Jones owed $49 million in a defamation case.
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