Alex Jones has had, to put it mildly, a terrible week. Not only did former InfoWars employees file complaints to accuse him of sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying, but he also butted heads with YouTube in a big way. That is to say, the platform pulled a video from the Alex Jones Channel, and the platform’s “three strikes” policy meant that the account would inevitably be shuttered if the trend continued. The video in question involved Jones accusing Florida school shooting survivors of being “crisis actors.” Now, it looks like Jones racked up the other two strikes and shall pay the price.
As a result, Jones is now very upset because YouTube has frozen his channel and plans to fully delete it (and all of its content) on Sunday. He claimed to have received a warning about the impending shutdown while (also conveniently) announcing his new video page.
Jones is, of course, claiming censorship, although any First Amendment arguments really don’t apply in the case of a privately-run company like YouTube. However, there’s an another twist at work here. Over the past few days, Jones has been the subject of an advertiser exodus because several companies didn’t even realize their ads were running on Jones’ conspiracy-theory videos, as CNN reveals:
Some of the biggest brands in the U.S. had ads running on the YouTube channels for far-right website InfoWars and its founder, notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and they say they had no idea YouTube was allowing their advertising to appear there.
Last week, YouTube reprimanded the conspiracy theory site and Jones for violating its community guidelines after a video posted to The Alex Jones Channel, InfoWars’ biggest YouTube account, claimed student anti-gun activists were actors.
These surprised companies included Nike, Expedia, 20th Century Fox, and the Mormon Church, among others. They were all apparently made aware of their status as Jones’ YouTube sponsors after being contacted by CNN amid his ongoing feud with the teen survivors of the latest school shooting massacre. This included him challenging David Hogg to a debate after exchanging insults with the teenager on Twitter.
Some might say the sponsor exodus is overdue after Jones habitually fueled conspiracy theories to call school shootings “false flag” operations staged by the government with the help of paid actors playing grieving parents. However, it also raises the question of why YouTube allowed Jones to continue his harmful shenanigans until public opinion (substantially) turned against him.