AUSTIN, Texas — The right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is a performance artist whose true personality is nothing like his on-air persona, according to a lawyer defending the “Infowars” broadcaster in a child custody battle.Attorney Randall Wilhite said at a pretrial hearing in Austin last week that evaluating Jones based on his on-air comments is like judging Jack Nicholson based on his role as the Joker in “Batman.”
But Kelly Jones described her ex-husband as “not a stable person,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. She said he is threatening toward others, noting homophobic comments he’s made about Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and a challenge to fight actor Alec Baldwin. He broadcasts from home, she said, and that exposes their children to his incendiary behavior.
Jury selection in the case began Monday, and Kelly Jones is seeking sole or joint custody of the children, ages 14, 12 and 9.
Alex Jones began on public access television in Austin, and his “Infowars” programming on radio, YouTube and other platforms draws millions of listeners.
Infowars.com, for instance, had 7.6 million global unique visitors from March 16 to April 14, according to Quantcast, which measures web audiences. Quantcast ranked Infowars.com 387th among all U.S. websites, not far behind Texas.gov, MLB.com and PBS.org.
Infowars.com has alleged that the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting was a hoax and that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks involved the federal government.
The Alex Jones YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers and more than 1.2 billion video views.
He drew praise from Donald Trump when Trump was a candidate for the White House and told Jones in December 2015: “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”
But the judge overseeing the custody case, state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo, told lawyers last week that the focus of the trial must be on the Jones children.
“This case is not about ‘Infowars’ and I don’t want it to be about ‘Infowars,’ ” she said.
Jones pays $43,000 a month to Kelly Jones, whom he divorced in 2015, the newspaper reported.