MEDIA

Roku Reverses Course On Alex Jones, Ditching Infowars Channel Amid Backlash

“Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly," Roku said on Tuesday night.

Roku had no problem giving a voice to notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but then the backlash started. Now the company has decided to dump his content.

“After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform,” the company announced in a statement Tuesday night. “Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.”

The controversy appears to have started on Monday when a Twitter user noticed Jones’ show was added to Roku and informed media watchdog Sleeping Giants.

By Tuesday, several media outlets had reported the digital media service’s new addition, drawing even more attention to the change, which was met with anger on social media:

Initially, Roku defended the channel offering.

“While the vast majority of all streaming on our platform is mainstream entertainment, voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel,” Roku told Digiday. “We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint.”

Roku also said it would remove the content if it proved “unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights, among other things,” though it claimed Infowars was not breaking the rules. 

Roku’s ultimate decision to eliminate Jones’ material came months after Apple, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube had banned the extreme right-winger known for peddling lies online under the auspices of free speech.

Even after Roku ditched Jones, Gab, a social networking site known as a safe haven for alt-right hate speech and white supremacy, invited anyone interested in him to visit its website, proving his influence had not yet been scrubbed from the internet:

Roku’s decision to sever ties with Jones occurred just days after the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting won a defamation suit against him. In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre that claimed 28 lives, Jones said the mass shooting was a hoax. Many of the victims’ families were then harassed and threatened.

Jones also falsely accused philanthropist and financier George Soros of being a Nazi. Last year, Soros became the target of a mail bomber. After Jones shared his Pizzagate conspiracy, which claimed that Democrats oversaw a child trafficking ring within a Washington, D.C. pizzeria, a man armed with an assault rifle visited the establishment to “self-investigate.” The eatery’s owner and staffers also received death threats.

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