It's easy to laugh at the absurd spectacle of Alex Jones's conspiratorial website Infowars. But his outlandish claims are also damaging - especially when he lobs unsupported theories at innocent parties. Chobani is just one of Jones's many victims and the yogurt giant is suing Infowars over a video that asserted the company's efforts to hire refugees in an Idaho town caused an uptick in crimes.
According to the company's lawyer, Jones reposted a video at the beginning of April 2017 (via Infowars) alleging that when Chobani opened a plant in Twin Falls, ID, there was a spike in rapes and a tuberculosis outbreak. The video, titled "Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Important Migrant Rapists," shows Jones suggesting that the company is responsible for an unfortunate crime that transpired in Twin Falls a year ago.
"The background of the video repeatedly depicts, and in doing so misrepresents, Chobani's owner and Chobani's products," read the law firm representing Chobani's statment. The company is seeking $10,000 in damages, reports The Idaho Statesman.
Jones, like many other far-right-wing outlets reporting on incidents of refugee crimes, misconstrued a story involving three refugee boys who sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl. On April 4, 2017, all three of them pleaded guilty to an array of charges; only one was charged with a felony sexual exploitation of a minor. Authorities have maintained that there was no rape and the defendants were not violent, countering what conspiracists believe.
Infowars's false contention is particularly disconcerting given that the Chobani's founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, regularly advocates for refugees and makes a point to hire them. Ulukaya is a Turkish immigrant himself and has argued that refugees require jobs in order to become contributing members of society. While Ulukaya's rationale might seem obvious to many, some conservatives were incensed by Chobani's decision and boycotted the brand.
Jones has quite the avid following online, but an unrelated battle with his ex-wife indicates that even he views himself as a sensationalist. Jones's lawyer contended that his Infowars's videos are merely "performance art" and everything he says on the show should not be taken seriously.