Elon Musk is putting the reinstatement of the X (formerly Twitter) account for far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to a public vote on the social media platform. On Saturday, he tweeted, “Reinstate Alex Jones on this platform? Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” Twitter users can vote simply yes or no.
At time of writing, users had voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing Jones back on the platform.
The move is a departure from Musk’s statement that “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics, or fame” when asked to reinstate Jones in November 2022. At the time, Musk cited the death of his own son, who died of sudden infant death syndrome, as part of that motivation.
The conspiracy theories touted by Jones and “Infowars” were often particularly nefarious, including Jones spending years harassing family members of the children and staff killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 people. Jones repeatedly referred to the 20 children and 6 adults who died as “crisis actors” and insisted the entire shooting was “completely fake.”
Keith Olbermann tweeted in response to Musk’s poll about Jones, “You’re a fraud and a hypocrite. And more importantly you have now shamed the memory of your firstborn child which YOU and nobody else interjected into this discussion of the indefensibility of platforming Jones.”
Musk’s poll comes two days after Tucker Carlson hosted Jones on his show on Thursday. The pair called former CNN host Brian Stelter after having a few drinks together, and Carlson implied that Stelter was interested in dating the former “Infowars” host. Stelter told TheWrap, “Always nice to hear from intoxicated old friends. I guess they have a lot of time on their hands these days.”
The X owner has repeatedly invoked “vox populi, vox dei” in polls on the platform, including using the format to ask whether to bring back other controversial figures, including former President Donald Trump.
The “Infowars” host was permanently banned from Twitter in 2018 for “abusive behavior.” The move came a month after Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify all removed Jones over significant concerns with his content.
Jones was banned after verbally sparring with Sen. Marco Rubio outside a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified at. Twitter explained, “Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope. We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations.”
Jones was also an inspiration to Edgar Maddison Welch, the man who fired shots into the D.C. pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong because he believed the shop was a front for a pedophile ring run by Hillary Clinton, among others.
The extreme host also described former special counsel Robert Mueller as a “literal swamp king creature come to kill America” and once said, “Everyone’s so scared of Mueller, they’d let Mueller rape kids in front of people, which he did.”