Conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones engaged in a five-minute verbal altercation at a fried chicken restaurant in Austin, Texas this weekend. The event was caught on video and posted by the Houston Chronicle.
What makes this video interesting is not the rudimentary weight insults lobbed by Jones at one of the people mocking him (although the target was large, Jones is not exactly svelte) nor his willingness to resort to deriding the disabled with “extra chromosome” attacks. It is not the humiliating laughter directed at Jones which was provided by a large quantity of patrons.
Rather, it is what the Chronicle reports happened at the edges of the incident.
Jones said his wife wasn’t satisfied with dinner, so they ended up stopping at Lucy’s.
“We’ve been going for many years,” he said. “It’s a great place.”
He said they sat at a table inside when several people from the outside dining area approached him. He claimed they told him to “eat sh–” and that “we’re going to get you.”
While Jones is an inveterate liar, his later comment in the video, “You’re the one telling people to eat shit”, lends credibility to at least the first part of that statement.
His situation is made somewhat sad by the fact that he describes the event as a second dinner with his wife. The woman in question is actually an ex-wife, and one who attempted to wrest all custody of their children away while challenging his sanity and honesty in public court. That said, Jones is not a sympathetic figure. He has gained fame and wealth trading upon the misery of others, starting with the 9/11 victims through the Sandy Hook shooting and beyond.
None of this excuses people approaching him while he’s eating and berating him – if, in fact, that is what happened. Austin residents often pride themselves on being outspoken and “weird”, which in Texas sometimes manifests as being aggressively liberal. Jones’ version of events is plausible.
While Jones has been heckled before, it has typically been at political events. At such events he has often invited the harassment, which fuels the influence he has among conspiracy theorists. Being attacked while simply eating dinner is a different level of engagement.
Alex Jones and his ventures Infowars and PrisonPlanet were among the largest American influences disseminating Russian propaganda during the 2015 campaign and beyond. They made millions fomenting discord in this country, ratcheting up hatred for Democrats by the Republicans, hatred for Republicans by the Democrats, and paranoid distrust of authority in those who did not choose sides. There are a handful of others, like Roger Stone, who might be more deserving of reaping the harvest of hatred they have sown, but only a handful.
That said, he should not be joining the ranks of those like Ted & Heidi Cruz, Kellyanne Conway and Mitch McConnell in being berated in restaurants… because none of those attacks should have happened. They are a testimonial to incivility and indecency. That sort of confrontation should not happen, and is a stark reminder that the “antifa” crowd is as happily fascistic as the nationalists who threaten the press.
If Alex Jones is to be mocked, it should not be while he is eating dinner with his ex-wife. It should be in places like public forums. Maybe in song.