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ALEX JONES AND THE RIGHT TO BE LOUD, STUPID, OBNOXIOUS AND WRONG

ALEX-JONES

We appear to be living in a land of the perpetually aggrieved. Where somebody, somewhere is ready to seize on something someone has done or said in order to turn it into self-promotion and profits.

I do not understand what just happened to talk show host Alex Jones, the gravel-voiced self-promoting obnoxious conspiracy theorist.

Jury finds Alex Jones caused $4 million in damages to two Sandy Hook parents

Right-wing talk show host Alex Jones will have to pay the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim a little more than $4 million in compensatory damages, a jury decided Thursday, capping a stunning and dramatic case that showcased for the public the real-world harm inflicted by viral conspiracy theories.

The award from the jury was far less than what the plaintiffs, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, had asked for. At the start of the trial, attorneys for Lewis and Heslin asked the jury to award their clients $150 million in compensatory damages.

A separate, shorter trial during which punitive damages will be discussed is now expected. Punitive damages are awarded when the court finds the defendant's behavior to be especially offensive.

Jones baselessly said in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged. <Source>

A jury finds Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim

A Texas jury has decided to penalize Alex Jones with $45.2 million in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victim Jesse Lewis.

Plaintiffs Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis were awarded a total of just under $50 million in both compensatory and punitive damages. Of the total $49.3 million, the $45.2 million in punitive damages may be reduced due to Texas statute.

"Care and concern is so important and we saw what happens when there is a dearth of that, and so I hope that we all just go home tonight and everybody that's reading these articles and hearing this message and you chose love with your kids, because you can," Lewis said Friday after learning of the jury's decision. "That means being present in the moment with them, looking into their eyes, giving them a hug and just moving from there. Just every moment, realize that you have a choice and your choice is love."

Jones "monetized his shtick," he added, even suggesting that Jones could teach a college course about his techniques.

Jones' fear-mongering rants on Infowars have, for many years, been paired with ads for supplements, documentaries, and other products Infowars sells. Pettingill, Jr. said the money poured in, identifying nine different companies that are owned by Jones.

"He is a very successful man, he promulgated some hate speech and some misinformation, but he made a lot of money and he monetized that," Pettingill, Jr. said on the stand. "My thinking about him is he didn't ride a wave, he created the wave." <Source>

How is this possible?

What law did Alex Jones violate? Where is his freedom of speech – his right to be loud, obnoxious, stupid, and wrong? Even if he monetized his bullshit, it is no different that what Hollywood or the media does on a routine basis.

Under common law and according to the definition of this defamation, deceased individuals cannot be defamed. Defamation is defined as an act or statement that damages one’s reputation. The dead do not have reputations to damage. The memory of a deceased person can be damaged, but this is not addressed under the tort of defamation.

Survivors or descendants of the dead have no legal claim on behalf of a deceased relative’s good name, nor can they collect on behalf of their own interests relative to that person’s reputation. Likewise, the estate of a deceased person cannot be liable for the defamation of the dead. Survivors, relatives or friends of the deceased may, however, have a cause of action if the defamation reflects on their own reputations and they have, in fact, been defamed by the statements. <Source>

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

9.  Plaintiff Scarlett Lewis is the parent of deceased minor J.L., a victim of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
10. This case arises out of the intentional infliction of emotional distress committed against Plaintiff for the past five years.
11. Since the day of the shooting, InfoWars has aggressively promoted a dreadful and despicable false narrative about Sandy Hook, mocking the families as liars and accusing them of a sinister conspiracy. Plaintiff’s family has been specifically targeted in this campaign of harassment.
12. These baseless and vile accusations, which have been pushed by InfoWars and Mr. Jones a continuous basis since the shooting, advance the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre did not happen, or that it was staged by the government and concealed using actors, and that the families of the victims are participants in a horrifying cover-up. InfoWars knew its assertions were false or made these statements with reckless and outrageous disregard for their truth.
13. Beginning in the month of the shooting, in December 2012, InfoWars published multiple videos with false information while claiming the incident was a “false flag” or otherwise staged.
14. InfoWars continued with a video on January 27, 2013 entitled “Why People Think Sandy Hook is a Hoax,” Mr. Jones introduced a variety of completely baseless claims which he would continually repeat with malicious obsession for the next five years.

<snip>

CAUSES OF ACTION

I. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

80. All previous allegations are incorporated by reference.
81. Defendants knew or should have known that their videos on November 18, 2016, March 8, 2017, April 22, 2017, June 13, 2017, June 19, 2017, June 26, 2017, July 20, 2017, October 26, 2017, and April 20, 2018 would cause Plaintiff severe emotional distress and cause her family to be the subject of harassment, ridicule, and threats to their safety.
82. Defendants made the statements in these videos in bad faith and with malicious motives, knowing the statements were false or in reckless disregard for the truth, and knowing they would cause severe emotional distress.

Source: CASE NUMBER: D-1-GN-18-006623  (10/31/2018)

SCARLETT LEWIS,
Plaintiff
VS.
ALEX E. JONES, INFOWARS, LLC, FREE SPEECH SYSTEMS, LLC,
Defendants

What does this mean?

Jones was quoted as saying, “If questioning public events and free speech is banned because it might hurt somebody’s feelings, we are not in America anymore."

I am not aware of any Constitutional right to avoid be offended or to seek legal redress if one is offended.

I have heard some claim the case is about the harassment and death threats send to the parents allegedly by followers of Alex Jones who believed they were lying about the events surrounding Sandy Hook. If this is true, it appears that a number of traditional and non-traditional media outlets are also culpable for carrying a false message.

I just can’t make sense of the case or the egregious award that seems based on emotion rather than some rule of law.

Bottom line…

Someone needs to explain this trial to me. There must be some hidden nuance thar I cannot see or understand.

We are so screwed.

-- Steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

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