Spotify removes podcasts from right-wing conspiracy theorist who called terror victim’s parent a ‘crisis actor’

Screenshot from 'The Alex Jones Channel'
Nathan Griffiths

Spotify has removed some episodes of The Alex Jones Show following outrage and boycotts from its customers. This comes only days after the show was added to the platform. The streaming service claims certain episodes were removed because they violated its hate content policy.

Spotify’s statement

Talking to Billboard, Spotify stated:

We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community. Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy

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Whilst Spotify didn’t address the specific details of why Jones’s content violated its hate content policy, its updated policy states:

Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

The damage caused by Alex Jones’s conspiracy theories

Jones founded InfoWars in 1999 and The Alex Jones Show has since become one of the most popular conspiracy theory and fake news platforms with over 2.4 million subscribers. In what was arguably his lowest moment, Jones told his subscribers that the Sandy Hook massacre that left 26 people dead was a hoax. He argued it was a left-wing false flag attack in order to support gun control arguments.

In a 2015 InfoWars video, he stated:

Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids.

The parents of children killed in the tragedy have suffered relentless abuse from Jones’s cultist fan base. The most notable example is the case of Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner. Their child, Noah Pozner, was killed during the attack at Sandy Hook. InfoWars called De La Rosa a “crisis actor”. And since Jones’s hoax claims, the couple has received constant death threats and online harassment. The harassment has forced the couple to relocate seven times.

In a video posted by InfoWars on 17 April 2018, Jones said: “I believe Sandy Hook happened. And early on, I was being bullied by internet folks and others to say nobody died.” But the damage had already been done.

Reaction

Spotify’s removal of the podcasts follows on from action taken against Jones’s channels by both YouTube and Facebook. YouTube and Facebook have also removed videos, citing Islamophobic and transphobic hate speech and child endangerment.

Angry Spotify customers, meanwhile, took to Twitter to vent their dismay at Spotify’s recent decision to add Jones’s podcasts to its platform.

These comments prompted Spotify to remove some of Jones’s podcast. Some customers were content with this, while others were furious that some podcasts still remained:

https://twitter.com/ELIZA_PBK/status/1025068285409124352

Putting a stop to Alex Jones’s fake news

Jones is currently being sued for defamation by parents of the children who died in the Sandy Hook tragedy, including Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner. However, Jones wants the lawsuit dismissed under Texas free speech laws. And he is also seeking $100,000 from the parents to cover court costs.

With a potential defamation lawsuit and an increasingly restricted platform, this could be the beginning of the end for Alex Jones. And his credibility continues to plummet. But with fans including Donald Trump and a dedicated following of over 2.4 million YouTube subscribers, taking Jones’s fake news down will be a tough job.

Removing videos and podcasts is a step in the right direction, but companies such as Spotify, Facebook and YouTube need to do more, and they need to do it fast.

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