Elon Musk restored Alex Jones’ X account over the weekend, then welcomed the conspiracy-spreading radio broadcaster back to the platform with a live interview. During Musk’s hour-and-a-half presence on the call, Jones blamed his fabulist image on “the media and PR firms” and hailed Musk for enabling him to return to X and tell his own tale.
A change of mind
Jones was banned from Twitter in 2018 for “abusive behaviour” that included comparing a CNN reporter to “the Hitler Youth.” He was already well-known at the time for spreading misinformation about the Sandy Hook school tragedy, in which 20 children and six adults were slain, falsely alleging it was a hoax or part of a government scheme. He was eventually convicted guilty of defamation and compelled to pay more than $1 billion in restitution for propagating the falsehood. Jones, who was once found in contempt of court for disobeying a judge’s instructions, has spent the past year seeking – with minimal success — to avoid the punishment by declaring bankruptcy.
“Denying the murders of children, that’s not cool, at all,” Musk said
Musk earlier stated that he would not allow Jones back on the platform because he has “no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics, or fame.” But it was a year ago, and Musk has continued to encourage fringe far-right beliefs on X and has embraced disturbing conspiracy theories himself. Now, Musk says Jones is allowed to use the platform as long as he does not breach any laws.
My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat.
I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2022
Musk pushed Jones to explain his statements on Sandy Hook during their live audio call on X. “Denying the murders of children, that’s not cool, at all,” Musk went on to say. “So just what exactly did you say and what is going on with that situation?”
These replies, which are accessible in court documents, would demonstrate that Jones did, in fact, deny the killings of children while promoting the conspiracy idea that their families were actors. Instead, Musk gave Jones permission to modify the article. Jones then lied about his own words about Sandy Hook, stating he was mostly reporting remarks made by “professors” and “school safety people.”
Jones repeatedly used the call to praise Elon Musk
Later in the call, Musk and Jones were joined by a slew of other very-online speakers, including Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, conspiracy theorist and former Trump advisor Michael Flynn, US Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), VC and podcast host Jason Calacanis, and influencer Andrew Tate, who was charged with rape and human trafficking earlier this year.
Ramaswamy described meeting Jones as “eye-opening” and backed his return to X. “There are people who have … made some mistakes, said some things that were wrong, and said some other things that were dead right that nobody else was saying either,” Jones was quoted as adding.
Jones used parts of the conversation to rant against (and fight about the concept of) “globalists,” with references to “world government” and “social credit scores” thrown in for good measure. He did, however, spend a lot of time admiring Musk. “I’m not kissing ass here,” Jones stated emphatically. “Elon, you’ve got big ones, man, on every front.”
Jones’ unbanning comes less than a month after Musk praised tweets promoting white nationalist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In reaction to his words, another wave of advertisers left X, which Musk blamed on the media disregarding his “clarifications” on his point of view.
“It was answered”
Jones attempted to establish parallels between himself and Musk as two persons who, in his opinion, were both unfairly persecuted for previous statements. “It’s just like they misrepresent what you say, take one little thing and twist it, then say you need to apologise for it and just keep hammering it and hammering it,” Jones went on to remark.
Under the pretext of promoting free expression and open debates, Musk has increasingly courted far-right influencers to X. As a result, he’s begun to embrace and push some of their beliefs. In November, he responded to a tweet backing the antisemitic “great replacement” conspiracy theory by calling it the “actual truth.”
Both Musk and Jones had had enough by the time Calacanis joined the X audio conversation and asked Jones to clarify his Sandy Hook statements again. “I’m not gonna live in Groundhog Day,” Jones remarked, declining to elaborate on his statements. Musk subsequently added, “It was responded… I believe people will become bored of you addressing the question.”