Yogurt Giant Takes on Conspiracy Theorist in Defamation Suit
Maker of delicious yogurt, Chobani, recently filed a lawsuit against right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for defamation. Chobani has, in recent months, been the subject of several of Jones’ rants, online, and on his radio show. Jones ridiculously claimed that Chobani was “importing migrant rapists” into Idaho – and was responsible for a 500% increase in tuberculosis in Twin Falls. When Jones ignored the requests to take down the clearly false publications, Chobani filed suit.
Jones’ sensational claims came on the heels of a story about refugees sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in Twin Falls. The assailants were between the ages of 7 and 14 and had no relation to Chobani. Once that story was released, right-wing news outlets falsely reported that it was a group of adult men that threatened the girl at knifepoint, and Jones linked the men to Chobani, whose owner is an immigrant. Adding these gruesome details gave the story even more publicity, but authorities later confirmed that they were not true.
Chobani is suing for what they believe is clear defamation. To succeed, Chobani will have to prove in court that the statements Jones has put out were actually false – which should not be a challenge given how divorced from reality Jones’ claims are. Chobani will have no problem showing that it was not, in fact, “importing migrant rapists.” Chobani will also need to show that these statements are “defamatory,” meaning that they are of a kind that could lower Chobani’s reputation. Considering that Jones’ absurd stories resulted in a far-right campaign to boycott Chobani, the yogurt maker will succeed here as well. And Chobani will also be able to show damages – or, that it has been harmed financially, as the company took a financial hit in the wake of the statements. Chobani can therefore show that its reputation and worth were directly affected by Jones’s statements.
Despite the ridiculousness of his claims, Jones says he’s “not backing down” and “never giving up.” Experiencing backlash for his statements isn’t a rare occurrence for Alex Jones. Before this, he had received a lot of publicity for saying that the September 11th and Sandy Hook attacks were hoaxes made up by the government.
If you have been the victim of defamatory speech – whether printed, online, or verbal – you may have a case for defamation. Negative online rumors and social media tirades may contain defamatory statements about individuals or their business. Call the attorneys at Levine-Piro Law to schedule a consultation today, 978-637-2048.