‘Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly…’
(Dom DiFurio, The Dallas Morning News) Streaming service Roku announced Tuesday that it had added conspiracist and provocateur Alex Jones’s Infowars show to its content lineup just months after several major streaming and social media sites banned him from their platforms.
But the announcement was short-lived, when later Tuesday Deadline reported that the company changed its mind following swift online backlash.
“After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform,” said Roku spokesman Eric Savitz in a statement that was reported by The New York Times. “Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.”
Apple, Spotify and Facebook have banned Jones from hosting his content on their sites. Jones’ conspiracy-laden rants and penchant for spreading false news was met with increasing pressure in 2018, when his actions were deemed contradictory to the terms of service of many of the platforms hosting him.
The revelation that InfoWars had been added to Roku’s streaming lineup emerged first on Twitter when the Sleeping Giants account shared a screenshot of someone’s interactions with Roku, according to a report from Digiday.
Before Roku’s about-face later Tuesday, users had taken to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the company’s decision to host Jones.
Jones has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories about mass shootings and other tragedies, including the 2017 shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Conspiracy theorists unaffiliated with Jones later targeted the community and were arrested and charged with resisting arrest, trespassing, making a terroristic threat and marijuana possession.
Most recently, a judge ruled that Jones must turn over internal documents from Infowars to the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The families sued Jones for defamation after he used his platform to spread conspiracies suggesting the victims of Sandy Hook were “crisis actors.”
The Sandy Hook families’ attorneys release a statement Tuesday afternoon on Roku’s initial decision to add Infowars:
“Roku’s shocking decision to carry Infowars and provide a platform for Alex Jones is an insult to the memory of the 26 children and educators killed at Sandy Hook. Worse, it interferes with families’ efforts to prevent people like Jones from profiting off innocent victims whose lives have been turned upside down by unspeakable loss.
“We call on Roku to realize this and immediately pull the program. Until then, the families will be switching to alternate streaming providers that know the difference between authentic — if provocative — opinions and a lying opportunist seeking to make money by any means possible. There is no amount of anticipated revenue that could possibly justify Roku’s calculated decision.”
Jones is based in Austin, where he began his career with a public-access cable television show. Along with operating Infowars, he hosts The Alex Jones Show, the flagship show on talk radio network GCN.
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