“Alex Jones is being sued by greek yogurt company Chobani” is not a headline I expected to read this morning…but seriously self-proclaimed “performance artist” and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is being sued by the greek yogurt giant. According to a report by NBC News – Jones is being accused of publishing false stories and information where he accused Chobani owner, Hamdi Ulukaya and Chobani of sexual assault involving refugee children.
On Monday, Chobani and their attorneys filed a lawsuit in a Twin Falls, Idaho District Court. In the suit, Chobani’s legal team points out Jones’ history of making outlandish claims and making up crazy conspiracy theories on his website InfoWars.
“(Jones) is no stranger to spurious statements. He has claimed that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks and the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut,” Chobani’s attorneys wrote. “Mr. Jones has now taken aim at Chobani and the Twin Falls community.”
The lawsuit claims that on April 11, Jones and Infowars released a video detailing Chobani and Ulukaya’s practice of hiring refugees. In the video, the Infowars reporter republished statements that accused a Chobani plant in Twin Falls, Idaho of its willingness to hire refugee workers and claimed in 2016 that two refugee boys sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl.
The video was promoted using the headline “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists,” but the lawsuit points out that the video never proved those claims. The video was tweeted out by Jones and several other right-wing news outlets who spun the story and exaggerated and falsified the facts.
“The defendant’s defamatory statements were designed to cause — and did in fact cause — customers to call for a boycott of Chobani’s products,” the lawsuit stated.
The 2016 assault was very difficult for the community of Twin Falls and caused much turmoil. The city is one of two cities in Idaho that has refugee resettlement centers and Chobani is a huge part of Twin Falls’ economy. Without the yogurt company, many people would be without jobs. For example, the company pumps more than $2 billion (yes, billion) a year into the cities economy.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 7, 2017
According to NBC News, the company is suing for defamation and is seeking up to $10,000 in damages. Defamation laws vary from state-to-state, but there are normally some expected standards that make the laws similar no matter where you are. Generally speaking, in order to win your lawsuit, you must show that:
- Someone made a statement;
- that statement was published;
- the statement caused you injury;
- the statement was false; and
- the statement did not fall into a privileged category