Alex Jones, a radio show host and conspiracy theorist, recently filed for bankruptcy. In 2012, after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Jones began to spread his conspiracy theory that the government had planned this massacre, that no one had actually died, and the families of the Sandy Hook victims were complicit. Because of his program, the families of the victims were subject to much harassment including death threats, online abuse, and physical confrontations from Jones’ fans. In response, the families filed multiple lawsuits against him.
Before the jury awarded a family almost $50 million in damages for one of the lawsuits, Jones put his media company, Free Speech Systems, LLC, into bankruptcy. He claimed that Free Speech Systems owed $54 million to a company later found to be owned by him and his parents.
His attempts to keep money from the Sandy Hook families continued after a judge ruled that he had to pay around $1 billion to them. He was ordered to pay $120 million to a father whose daughter was killed in the shooting, $45.2 million to another, $965 million in compensatory damages to a group of families, and $473 million in punitive damages. Jones claimed his assets were worth between $1 to 10 million; however, a forensic economist estimated that he and his businesses were worth somewhere between $130 and $270 million.
Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for himself, claiming that he only had $2 million to his name, and listed the 16 Sandy Hook family members, an FBI agent present during the shooting, and $150,000 credit card debt to American Express as the largest claims against him.
Alex Jones used his radio show broadcast to ask for donations to fight lawsuits and received almost $3 million within five months, and his companies continue to bring in millions in revenue every month. It is clear that he is using bankruptcy as a ruse to prevent Sandy Hook families from receiving compensation for his defamation attacks.