Chobani filed a lawsuit this week against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, accusing the right-wing radio host and his site, Infowars, of posting a fake news story linking the company and its CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, to a 2014 sexual assault case involving refugees.
Ulukaya has long been the target of xenophobic threats and right-wing attacks over business practices that earned him and his company admiration all over the world. In addition to supporting charities that aid refugees and immigration, Ulukaya made it a point early in the company’s history to hire refugees and individuals who had been laid off.
“If a refugee has a job, they are no longer a refugee,” Ulukaya, himself a Turkish immigrant of Kurdish descent, told The Financial Times last year.
Earlier this month, Chobani argued that Infowars published a falsified report about a sexual assault case in Twin Falls, Idaho, where Chobani owns and operates the largest yogurt plant in the world. The lawsuit says the erroneous report linked Ulukaya to the assault case and accused his company of bringing “crime and tuberculosis to the community.” The fake news stories led to a customer boycott call against Chobani products, the suit says.
The article, which carries the headline “MSM [Mainstream Media] Covers For Globalist’s Refugee Import Program After Child Rape Case” has received more than 22,000 views on YouTube, and Jones tweeted the story to his roughly 600,000 Twitter followers. The lawsuit says the story was also given a different headline, “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists,” when it was tweeted by Infowars.
“Defendant Alex Jones is no stranger to spurious statements,” the lawsuit states. “The Southern Poverty Law Center described Mr. Jones as ‘almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America.’ Mr. Jones has now taken aim at Chobani and the Twin Falls community.”
Click here to read the lawsuit, filed in Idaho District Court, in its entirety.