Conspiracy theorist and huckster Alex Jones has been ordered by a Connecticut court to pay almost a billion dollars to people who suffered from his lies. Meanwhile, another notorious conspiracy theorist, the founder of the extremist gang the Proud Boys will appear at an event at Penn State University later this month. And there was a pretty explosive Jan. 6 committee hearing, too.
It’s the week in extremism.
Curtains for Alex Jones?
It was a bad week for Jones, who has made a living by lying to his audience and feeding Americans a steady stream of conspiracy theories and propaganda via his platform “Infowars.” In the second civil case he has faced this year, Jones was ordered to pay almost $1 billion to victims who suffered from his lies about the Sandy Hook massacre.
- In August, Jones was ordered to pay victims almost $50 million after a similar civil trial. The cases stream from his years-long spreading of lies about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that led to years of harassment and suffering for the families of the victims.
- Jones responded to the judgment in typical fashion, asking on his televised Infowars show: “Do these people actually think they’re getting any money?”
- Infowars’ parent company has filed for bankruptcy protection, but an expert told the Texas court Jones and his company could be worth as much as $270 million.
Next: Jones still faces a third trial in Texas.
Proud Boys founder at Penn State
Gavin McInnes, the right-wing provocateur who founded the extremist street gang the Proud Boys, is set to appear at an event at Penn State University later this month. Students at the university are not impressed and have launched a petition to have the event canceled.
- McInnes, a Canadian citizen, allegedly quit the Proud Boys in 2018 after the group became increasingly notorious for its street violence and political activity. He has claimed the creation of the gang was largely a joke.
- Despite their insistence they are a harmless drinking club, exposés from inside the Proud Boys show that they are a hateful and racist organization. Proud Boys have also driven protests on far-right touchstone issues including drag events and school board meetings.
- High-profile members of the group were charged with seditious conspiracy for their role at the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- The petition to have McInnes’ event canceled had almost 1,700 signatures by Thursday afternoon. Local anti-fascist groups announced on Twitter they were organizing a “direct action” against the event.
Bombshell Jan. 6 committee meeting
Thursday’s meeting of the house select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection was a wild one. The headline is that the committee voted to subpoena former President Donald Trump for questioning. But plenty of other revelations came out of the meeting, including:
- Some Trump supporters were armed on Jan. 6, committee members said, and the US Secret Service knew in advance that some of the pro-Trump protesters were carrying firearms.
- If he’s ever forced to testify to the committee, Trump is likely to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. If so, he would join 30 other individuals who have pleaded the Fifth to the committee, according to Rep. Liz Cheney.
- The committee showed footage that had previously not been viewed publicly showing several senior politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pleading with law enforcement and military officials to secure the Capitol during the attack.
- Trump himself wanted to join the protesters. If that had happened, one Secret Service official told the commission, “this would move from a normal, democratic, public event into something else.”
What now? It was the last scheduled meeting of the committee. Trump will almost certainly fight the subpoena in court.
Last week in extremism: Extremists cheer Musk Twitter deal; Oath Keepers trial heats up & more LGBTQ harassment