Alex Jones’ Infowars sees sales soar since Sandy Hook defamation trial

·4 min read

Alex Jones’ Infowars has seen its sales soar since his Sandy Hook defamation trial, where he was ordered to pay almost $50m in damages to the parents of a child murdered in the mass shooting after he spread lies about the massacre being “a hoax”.

Court documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court in Houston reveal that Infowars’ parent company Free Speech Systems LLC is on track to top $800,000 in sales from its far-right conspiratorial website in the last week alone.

In the week ending 29 July, which also marked the first week of the high-profile trial, Infowars made $962,000 in sales, according to the filings.

The following week ending 5 August, when the jury reached its verdict awarding the parents a multi-million-dollar payout, Mr Jones’ business reportedly netted almost $899,000 in sales.

This marks a dramatic surge in sales since before the trial. The company previously reported that its sales reached around $595,000 each week.

Now, the company states that the website is on track to earn as much as $450,000 each day from new inventory and products, in particular from sales of nutritional supplements.

The details were revealed in an emergency motion filed by attorneys for Mr Jones’ company on Thursday and first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In the filings, Free Speech Systems asked the bankruptcy court to allow it to use extra cash to meet increased costs for fulfilling orders, claiming the company is facing a “crisis” in being able to fulfill sales on its website.

“While this is good news on the one hand, it could be catastrophically dangerous if FSS cannot timely fulfill these new orders,” the company wrote.

The surge in sales could lead to greater scrutiny of the company’s finances after it filed for bankruptcy in the midst of Mr Jones’ legal battles with the Sandy Hook families.

Last week, Mr Jones was ordered to pay $4.11m in compensatory damages and $45.2m in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of six-year-old son Jesse Lewis. Jesse was one of 20 students aged just six and seven years old and six staff members murdered in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on 14 December 2012.

Following the massacre, far-right conspiracy theorist Mr Jones pushed false claims through his radio show and website Infowars that the mass shooting was “a giant hoax” and that the victims were “actors”.

Alex Jones under questioning at his defamation trial atTravis County Courthouse in Austin on 3 August (AP)
Alex Jones under questioning at his defamation trial atTravis County Courthouse in Austin on 3 August (AP)

He continued to push the lies to his followers for years claiming it was a “false flag” operation. During the defamation trial, Mr Jones admitted that the massacre was real.

The legal battle rumbled on for more than a decade after the massacre, as Mr Jones repeatedly tried to hold up proceedings and filed for bankruptcy in an effort to avoid paying damages.

In April, he filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Texas for Infowars and two other entities he owns, claiming liabilities of as much as $10m each. The filings enable a business to keep operating while it prepares a turnaround plan and also pauses civil litigation.

Mr Jones made the filing just one week before jury selection was scheduled to begin in Austin.

Attorneys for the families of the Sandy Hook victims accused the right-wing extremist of making the move in an attempt to try to hide millions of dollars in assets and avoid paying out for the torment he has put them through.

In June, a federal judge in Texas tossed the bankruptcy protection case after attorneys for Mr Jones and the Sandy Hook families reached a deal to drop his three companies from the defamation lawsuits in exchange for the suits continuing. Mr Jones then filed for bankruptcy for a second time in the middle of the trial.

On 29 July, Free Speech Systems filed a petition for a special form of bankruptcy under Chapter 11.

Mr Jones is still set to face trial in two other defamation cases brought by the families of Sandy Hook victims. One is slated for the same Travis County courtroom and another in Connecticut.

His lawyers have already indicated they intend to pause proceedings pending the bankruptcy filing.