Alex Jones’ Infowars files for bankruptcy after defamation suits

Alex Jones

Companies owned by US radio host Alex Jones, including his right-wing website InfoWars, have filed for bankruptcy.

The move comes as he fights defamation suits brought by families of those killed in a 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Mr Jones, who falsely claimed the shooting was a hoax, has been ordered to pay damages in the lawsuits.

Those efforts will be complicated by his decision to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court.

In the US, declaring bankruptcy provides a route for companies to remain in operation and negotiate their debts, with settlements overseen by the court. It puts a hold on other litigation.

Troubles for the radio host and conspiracy theorist stem from his false claims about the 2012 shooting in Connecticut, one of the worst school shootings in US history.

He repeatedly claimed the massacre, in which twenty children and six adults were killed, was a ploy to push gun control, staged by actors and the mainstream media.

Those claims were among the most prominent spread on his radio show and Infowars website.

In three separate lawsuits, families of those killed at Sandy Hook have said his lies enriched his business, including InfoWars, while leading to their harassment by his followers.

They won the lawsuits last year after Mr Jones denied the claims but refused to present evidence such as financial records in court.

This month, juries were set to start determining how much he owes the families.

He had proposed to pay $120,000 (£92,150) to each of the 13 people involved in the lawsuits, but they rejected that offer last month.

“The so-called offer is a transparent and desperate attempt by Alex Jones to escape a public reckoning under oath with his deceitful, profit-driven campaign against the plaintiffs and the memory of their loved ones lost at Sandy Hook,” the families said in court filings.

Since the lawsuits, Mr Jones has acknowledged that the shooting took place. He has said the lawsuits threaten his constitutional rights to free speech.

In the bankruptcy filing, InfoWars listed its estimated assets in the range of $0-$50,000 and estimated liabilities in the range of $1m to $10m. He has already been banned by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in recent years for hate speech and abusive behaviour.

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