Elon Musk reinstated notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ account on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday amid the billionaire’s continued loss of advertisers on the platform.
“Reinstate Alex Jones on this platform? Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk, who owns X after buying the social media platform for $44 billion last year, said in a post on Saturday. Early Sunday, Musk tweeted, “The people have spoken and so it shall be.”
Jones, who runs the conspiracy network Infowars and has spent more than a decade harassing the parents of dead children, was banned from Twitter in 2018 for violating the website’s abusive behavior policy.
Last year, Jones was ordered to pay more than $1 billion to several families of victims who were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that left 20 kids and six adults dead. Jones spent years using his platform on Infowars to falsely claim that the families were “crisis actors” who never lost loved ones in the shooting.
During two civil trials last year, several Sandy Hook families testified about the real-world harassment they received as a product of Jones’ lies.
Parents Ian and Nicole Hockley lost their 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the shooting. They testified that lies amplified by Infowars led to listeners targeting them.
“I got sent pictures of dead kids because [harassers said] as a ‘crisis actor,’ I didn’t know what dead kids looked like,” Nicole Hockley testified.
Mark and Jackie Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed in the shooting, testified they were sent a letter by someone claiming to have urinated on the child’s grave. Another letter threatened to dig up the grave to prove the child did not exist.
Infowars primarily makes money from selling supplements and survival gear. Court records first obtained by HuffPost last year show that the Infowars store made more money on days that Jones promoted lies about Sandy Hook.
After taking over Twitter last year, Musk responded to an account asking to bring back Jones by saying he had “no mercy” for him.
“My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat,” Musk tweeted. “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.” (Musk’s ex-wife, Justine, later said it was actually she who held their child).
One year later, Musk has apparently embraced bringing Jones back to the platform. The decision comes as X continues to bleed advertisers who have pulled out amid Musk’s erratic behavior and his continued amplification of antisemitic conspiracies.
“If somebody’s going to try and blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself,” Musk said during The New York Times’ DealBook Summit last month. “Go. Fuck. Yourself.”
In May, Musk amplified a conspiracy that a neo-Nazi gunman who killed eight people at a shopping mall in Allen, Texas, may have been a “psyop.”
It wasn’t. The shooter had neo-Nazi tattoos, including a swastika and the SS lightning bolt logo of Adolf Hitler’s paramilitary forces.
And in October, Musk was hit with a lawsuit from a 22-year-old Jewish man after Musk falsely claimed the recent college grad was posing as a federal agent during a brawl between neo-Nazis and the neo-fascist group the Proud Boys. The man, Ben Brody, was not even in the same state where the brawl occurred.
Brody said he and his family faced harassment from those who believed Musk’s absurd claims.
“My family and I are just being harassed completely, and I would be more than happy to clear up any confusion if necessary,” Brody said in a video he posted to clear his name at the time. “This is just so ridiculous, and I just really can’t believe this is happening to me right now.”
Brody is being represented by attorney Mark Bankston of the Texas law firm Farrar & Ball. Bankston previously represented two Sandy Hook parents who won $45 million in damages against Jones.