Alex Jones, the right-wing internet radio host and conspiracy theorist who is an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, now claims that his radio rants are just “performance art.”
The conspiracy theorist is simply “playing a character” as host of his popular radio show “The Alex Jones Show” and on his Infowars website, his lawyers argued during a custody battle in a Texas court last week.
“He is a performance artist,” attorney Randall Wilhite said, comparing the right-wing commentator to Jack Nicholson portraying the super villain Joker in “Batman,” according to the Texas Austin American-Statesman.
Jones is fighting his ex-wife, Kelly, for custody of their children, ages 14, 12 and 9. She asked the court to allow the jury to see clips of Jones on his radio show as evidence he is an unfit parent.
“He’s not a stable person,” said Kelly Jones, who divorced Alex in 2015. “He says he wants to break Alec Baldwin’s neck. He wants J-Lo to get raped.”
Alex Jones verbally attacked Alex Baldwin for his role as Trump on “Saturday Night Live” after Baldwin/Trump boasted about getting his information on aliens from “Alex Jones.”
In response, Jones challenged Baldwin to a million-dollar charity fight — “I’ll get in the ring with you, and I will break your jaw, I will knock your teeth out, I will break your nose, and I will break your neck,” Jones said.
Jones also lashed out at Jennifer Lopez for her post-election lament about Trump during the Grammys in February. In response, Jones said Trump “doesn’t want to bring people in from Somalia where women are sold on slave blocks. Why don’t you go to Somalia for five minutes, lady; you’ll be gang-raped so fast it’ll make your head spin.”
Kelly Jones said she is “concerned that he is engaged in felonious behavior, threatening a member of Congress,” she said, referring to his recent comments about California Democrat Adam Schiff. “He broadcasts from home. The children are there, watching him broadcast.”
In one of his radio shows, Jones rants about Schiff after the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee investigation of Trump’s Russia ties suggested that Jones might be entangled with the Russians.
Jones’s rant about Schiff ends: “You got that, you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand,” echoing John Wayne’s warning in “True Grit” to a man he’s about to shoot and kill.
Jones later described his anti-Schiff rant as “clearly tongue-in-cheek and basically art performance, as I do in my rants, which I admit I do, as a form of art.”
“When I say, ‘I’m going to kick your ass,’ it’s the Infowar,” Jones said. “I say every day we’re going to destroy you with the truth.”
District Judge Orlinda Naranjo said that she was excluding much of the evidence about Alex Jones’ radio show Infowars from the custody trial. “This case is not about Infowars, and I don’t want it to be about Infowars,” Naranjo said in court last week.
The Jones custody battle will be decided by a jury. Texas is the only state that allows child custody to decided by a jury.
Jones apologized last month for helping to spread and promote the hoax known as Pizzagate.
The Pizzagate theory theorized — without any evidence — that top Democratic officials were involved with a satanic child pornography ring centered around a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant.
After the theory spread, a North Carolina man who said he listened to the “Alex Jones Show” came to investigate the conspiracy theory and fired a semiautomatic rifle inside the pizzeria. Mr. Welch pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and interstate transportation of a firearm and will be sentenced in June.
The restaurant has spent $70,000 on armed guards and many employees quit after the shooting in the restaurant.
Alex Jones is best known for promoting conspiracy theories. He has told his listeners that the fatal shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax to drum up support for gun control legislation.
“Sandy Hook is a completely fake, with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first,” Jones said on one program. “I know they had actors there clearly. But I thought they killed some real kids.”
He also argued that the Boston Marathon bombing was a “false flag” employing CIA-manipulated dupes to take the blame, the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound was faked because the terrorist leader is a CIA asset, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was behind the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
An early supporter of Trump, Jones has become a powerful voice in right-wing American politics. His radio show “The Alex Jones Show” is syndicated from his home studio in Austin, Texas, to 160 radio stations nationwide, and it reaches many more listeners over the internet.
According to the web analytics company Quantcast, his website Infowars reached about 7.6 million unique readers between March 16 and April 14. Jones also reaches audiences through YouTube and Facebook broadcasts.
The Alex Jones YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers and more than 1.2 billion video views.
In December 2015, Trump phoned in to the Alex Jones Show for a 30-minute interview. “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down,” the candidate told the host. Jones and Infowars have steadfastly supported Trump’s candidacy since then.
Roger Stone, a Republican television pundit and longtime Trump confidant, called Jones’ web-based media empire “Trump’s secret weapon” his book “The Making of the President 2016.” “His fiery words have struck a chord in the nation and he speaks for millions. In fact, more people follow Alex than watch Fox News or CNN,” Stone said.
One of Jones’s themes is: “Fake news media … is the enemy of the people.”