Right-wing radio host Alex Jones responds to Chobani lawsuit

Apr 26, 2017, 08:57

Yogurt maker Chobani is suing InfoWars and its publisher and director Alex Jones for defamation in an Idaho court, claiming that they have spread false statements about the company that led to a boycott movement.

Buried within a 66-minute video titled "Breaking: Alex Jones Exposes Sandy Hook Vampires" posted on Saturday, the conspiracy theorist used stick figures to make the argument, "You're supposed to have children by 16 in every culture, biologically".

The lawsuit said Jones, his network, and InfoWars' Twitter feed and YouTube channel repeatedly published false information linking Chobani, owner Hamdi Ulukaya and Twin Falls to a sexual assault case involving refugee children at a Twin Falls apartment complex.

The 2016 assault sparked months of turmoil in Twin Falls after the story about the incident was spun by far-right blogs and anti-immigration groups into accounts that exaggerated and falsified numerous details. "The defendants publicly communicated the defamatory statements to a wide audience of subscribers and other online viewers causing significant damages to (Chobani)".

Chobani's lawsuit also takes issue with the headline of the video, "Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Important Migrant Rapists", since Infowars did not mention or prove that statement in the report.

Jones and InfoWars "declined to remove the defamatory statements or publish a retraction", the suit says.

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The police later found the girl was not raped, there was no knife, and the perpetrators were boys aged 14, 10, and 7.

Still, the story spread across social media and to other similar alt-right sites, such as Breitbart News. "Allegations that Chobani's practice of hiring refugees brought crime and tuberculosis to Twin Falls".

If it seems like Chobani is taking Jones more seriously than, say, the rest of the Internet, because the founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, has been under attack from Jones, repeatedly, over the previous year, after announcing that he'd hired around 300 refugees to work in his factories.

"He also included that he was ashamed of it", David Minton, an attorney for Alex Jones, said of his client's Infowars comment, describing Hoffman's question as a "cheap shot to get something before the jury they can't get to otherwise". Jones then testified in court, according to the Austin-American Statesman, that "he means what he says on Infowars, though he also indulges in satire and comedy on the show".

Jones vowed to fight the case, saying it was without merit.

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