TWIN FALLS — Alex Jones, founder of the far-right website InfoWars and one of the country’s more well-known conspiracy theorists, doubled down after Chobani filed a lawsuit Monday against Jones and two of his companies for making “false and defamatory” accusations.
Early Tuesday, about 12 hours after the suit was filed in Twin Falls County District Court, Jones posted a 17-minute anti-Islamic tirade on his Youtube channel calling Chobani “Islamist owned and backed” and claiming that owner Hamdi Ulukaya “infiltrated” the United States “with the clear backing of Turkey.”
During the video, which had been viewed more than 45,000 times as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jones asks his viewers to support him in the lawsuit against Chobani by buying unregulated, InfoWars-branded “nutraceuticals and supplements.”
Chobani’s lawsuit involves a Youtube video published April 11 in which two InfoWars personalities falsely linked Chobani to the assault of a 5-year-old girl at the Fawnbrook Apartments in Twin Falls.
County Prosecutor Grant Loebs said there’s no connection between the yogurt factory, which employs some refugees, and the assault, for which three refugee boys pleaded guilty earlier this month in a sealed juvenile case.
The InfoWars Youtube video was titled “MSM (mainstream media) Covers for Globalist’s Refugee Import Program After Child Rape Case” and was shared by Jones and his outlets on Twitter with the message: “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists.”
Chobani’s lawsuit says the video “purports to describe Chobani’s practice of hiring refugees and an assault unrelated to Chobani” and claims the accusations made in the video are false and defamatory and have yet to be removed “despite multiple written demands.”
The video also repeats false claims linking the Chobani factory to a rise in tuberculosis cases in Twin Falls.
Jones began his response video by linking Chobani owner Ulukaya with George Soros, the liberal billionaire who’s become a favorite target for right-wing conspiracy sites.
Early in the video, it’s unclear if Jones is talking about Soros or Ulukaya when he said: “I’m not saying he consciously brought in people he thought were going to rape, but people he brought in and force-fed in America have now been implicated, indicted and have pled guilty to that.”
Later, Jones is clearly talking about Ulukaya when he says the Chobani founder “comes here with clear backing of the government of Turkey. Turkey (has) infiltrated us up one side and down the other.”
Jones goes on to say that tuberculosis cases are “skyrocketing” because of the “Islamist” Ulukaya — a claim made by Breitbart that’s since been refuted — and that Ulukaya is “pushing for more un-vetted refugees.”
The video is not out of the norm for Jones, who pushes the conspiracies that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. government and that the slaughter of 20 school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut was faked.
Jones, a Texas native, is rarely apologetic about his controversial and often fabricated statements, though he did offer a correction and quasi-apology last month for InfoWars’ coverage of “PizzaGate,” a far-right conspiracy that accused Democratic officials of running a child sex-slave ring out of Washington D.C. pizza restaurant.
InfoWars removed several “PizzaGate” stories from its website last month, but Jones made clear Tuesday that for now, he plans no such measure for stories about Ulukaya and Chobani.