Publishing false information that damages someone’s reputation is illegal, something Alex Jones may be learning the hard way. Chobani Yogurt has decided to sue the right-wing radio host for libelous statements made in his pursuit of money for angering the easily led. This time, he decided to try to link the Twin Falls, Idaho employer and it’s owner, who run the largest yogurt factory in the world, to a sexual assault case regarding refugee children.
Chobani claims that Alex Jones and his particular breed of crazy, Infowars, attempted to link the owner Hamdi Ulukaya and the company to a completely unrelated crime. Because Chobani happens to be in an area that has a Refugee resettlement center and is actually willing to hire refugees, Jones and his show published statements that claimed they brought tuberculosis and crime. There are about 45,000 people in Twin Falls, Idaho, and such a claim could seriously hurt relations between refugees and previous residents.
Then, according to Yahoo News, with the headline “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists,” Jones and his show attempted to link the company to an unrelated 2016 sexual assault case involving minor refugees and a 4-year-old girl. They did not prove in the article that there was any connection to Chobani, nor that the owner had anything to do with this. That didn’t stop them from trying to stir up trouble.
Freedom of speech means that we can say what we wish without fear of the government imprisoning us. However, publishing false information that hurts someone’s reputation can be taken to court, in the form of a lawsuit.
The government can’t imprison someone for making a defamatory statement since it is not a crime. Instead, defamation is considered to be a civil wrong, or a tort. A person that has suffered a defamatory statement may sue the person that made the statement under defamation law.
Chobani has filed suit for $10,000 claiming: “The defendants [sic] defamatory statements were designed to cause — and did in fact cause — customers to call for a boycott of Chobani’s products.” Their lawyers also claim that Alex Jones, the now self-professed “performance artist,” has not taken down the false information despite being asked to do so.
Jones responded to the suit by trying to link it to George Soros, of course, because that is what Right Wingers do it seems. Claiming that “White House sources” had told him months ago that Soros would be coming after him with “front groups,” he seemed to believe that publishing actual false information wasn’t the problem. Since Jones had links to the owner of the company and Soros just sitting around and waiting for this, perhaps that has something to do with why he chose to publish inflammatory and unrelated information about them. “I’m not backing down, I’m never giving up, I love this. They have jumped the trillion-pound great white shark on this baby,” said Jones.
It remains to be seen if the court will see it that way.