Roku Reverses Course, Bans Alex Jones Channel After Outcry

By 01/16/2019
Roku Reverses Course, Bans Alex Jones Channel After Outcry

Yesterday, streaming company Roku defended its widely criticized decision to allow infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company InfoWars to broadcast a channel to Roku’s 23.8 million users. But after a significant outcry, it reneged, issuing a statement on Twitter last night saying it’s “determind that the channel should be removed from our platform.”

Jones is notorious for propagating a number of conspiracy theories, including one that alleges the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was a false flag attack staged by the government, and that the people claiming to have lost family members there are crisis actors whose children and relatives never existed.

(Six families of children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook have sued Jones for defamation, calling his claim “a monstrous lie.” Last week, a judge awarded them the case’s first victory, giving them access to InfoWars’ internal marketing and financial documents.)

In August 2018, Jones was banned by virtually all major social media and tech companies, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Apple, Spotify, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The companies cited policies against hate speech in their decisions to ban him, with most noting repeated violations.

In contrast, Roku’s original statement about allowing Jones on its platform said Jones’ speech was welcome because “voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel. We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint.” (Roku also clarified that it was not involved in any kind of financial relationship with Jones.)

Some folks on social media were not pleased with Roku’s decision, to put it lightly, and weren’t shy about letting Roku know that:

Jones’ channel first garnered attention thanks to sharp-eyed Roku users who spotted it amongst the streamer’s programming. Some of them tweeted about it, and Roku responded confirming the channel existed.

Tuesday night, Jones posted what appears to be a response to Roku’s reversal on his Instagram (yes, he is still allowed there):


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#AlexJones 🖤

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