Infowars host Alex Jones, who owes $1.4 billion in damages to Sandy Hook families after repeatedly calling the 2012 elementary school massacre a government hoax, filed for personal bankruptcy on Friday.
The internet broadcaster and conspiracy theorist filed for chapter 11 in Texas, where his Infowars site had also previously filed for chapter 11 protection during its lengthy and costly litigation with families of Sandy Hook victims.
In October, a Connecticut jury ordered Jones and Infowars’s parent company, Free Speech Systems LLC, to pay $965 million in damages to Sandy Hook victims’ families for repeatedly claiming that the Dec. 14, 2012, elementary school shooting was a hoax. The tragedy saw a 20-year-old gunman kill 26 people at the school, including 20 children between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members.
Last month, a judge ordered Jones and Infowars to pay an extra $473 million in punitive damages for promoting false conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre, bringing the total judgment against him in a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families to $1.4 billion.
What’s more, a separate Texas case against Jones saw a jury ruling in August that he must pay the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Hook shooting $45.2 million in punitive damages, on top of $4.1 million in compensatory damages.
Friday’s bankruptcy filing halts the ability of Sandy Hook families to collect judgments against Jones, and the matter of how he and his media company will compensate the victims’ families will now move into bankruptcy court.
Jones’s bankruptcy petition puts his assets at between $1 million and $10 million, which is far short of the $1.4 billion he and Infowars owe the Sandy Hook families. It’s unclear how much money he has, however; Jones said in November that he had only a “couple hundred thousand dollars” in his savings account.
The bankruptcy filling comes a day after Jones interviewed rapper Kanye West and far-right activist Nick Fuentes, both of whom have drawn outrage for spreading antisemitic rhetoric, on Infowars. The segment drew backlash for giving West and Fuentes a platform, especially after the rapper made comments including “I like Hitler.” West was later suspended from Twitter for posting a picture of a swastika merged with the Star of David.