The exploits of Alex Jones have been puzzling at times. He is well known for his conspiracy theories, and recently his attorney pointed to the fact that Jones is more of a “performance artist” than an actual journalist. Even if one takes what Jones says with a grain of salt, is it possible that the radio personality went too far with one of his latest verbal attacks?
According to yogurt maker Chobani, he did just that in a recent rant. While he is free to say just about anything for both attention and ratings, with the recent lawsuit it appears there may be a price tag. Chobani is asking for $10,000 via a lawsuit filed in Idaho.
It is true that the owner of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, is an open supporter of American refugees. After buying a defunct yogurt plant in upstate New York, the company needed workers. Because there seemed to be a shortage of applicants, he did some research about the local area and found a refugee center nearby. As a way to give back to the community, Chobani supported different transportation options for the refugee workers, started a non-profit to help them become a part of the community, and even traveled internationally to see the refugee struggle first hand.
With the success of the New York plant, Ulukaya opened a second plant in Twin Falls, ID. He turned to the local refugee resettlement center in Idaho to find employees as well. His efforts to assist refugees was tied to his immigration to the United States from Turkey.
Currently, Chobani employees over 2,000. Of these employees, over 300 are refugees. These include those from Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan. While many see the efforts of companies like Chobani to be a positive thing, concerns tied to recent crimes committed by refugees have turned some large refugee communities upside down. One such community was Twin Falls, ID; where the second Chobani plant is located.
Life in Twin Falls, ID is usually pretty quiet. This changed recently as racial tensions boiled over after a horrible crime. A five-year-old girl was brutally raped and tortured by three refugee children. The crime alone was heartbreaking, and many questioned how children this age even knew to do these unspeakable acts. The three boys involved were 7, 10, and 14.
The crime in Twin Falls, ID was made worse by the overwhelming response of the local refugee community to pressure the family of the victim not to report. A witness who stopped the attack described the scene:
“…the door was cracked enough for him to see the pictures he was taking. I opened that door and I almost fainted when I saw what was going on and I’m a nurse. What a pitiful thing for a poor little girl to go through. The little tiny white girl, 5 years old, was standing there with her clothes off. The two younger boys were also naked. The worst thing was the way they peed all over her clothes and on her too, and I thought that was one of the meanest things I’ve ever saw done. And we know those kids must know a lot more than kids in America of that age. I’ve never seen any of them do anything like that to little girls, and we have a lot of children around here.”
The crime divided the city and some pushed for the victim to ignore the actions of the three boys. In early April of 2017, the three boys accepted pleas in the case. As if the situation was not bad enough, some of the media misreported part of the crime. It was initially described as a gang-rape involving adult refugees from Syria.
The media misinformation only added to the chaos after the attack. Alex Jones joined in the chaos as he spoke out against Chobani’s efforts with refugees. He did not only talk about concerns about the overall relocation of refugees from war-torn countries but instead, he made a direct link between the yogurt plant and the rape of the 5-year-old girl.
Jones was reported as directly accusing both Ulukaya and Chobani of “importing migrant rapists.” There was no established tie between the three young boys who plead guilty to the attack on the girl. None of these young perpetrators were employed or supported by the company.
On Alex Jones’ website, a video was posted that was entitled “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Important Migrant Rapists.” Chobani’s lawsuit contends the site did not prove or even discuss allegations launched at Chobani in the video. The company saw the headline as being misleading and mostly bait to draw traffic to the website. Video traffic was further increased as Jones also tweeted the headline.
According to the lawsuit:
“(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. Mr. Jones has now taken aim at Chobani and the Twin Falls community.”
Jones is no stranger to the court system either. His recent custody case has drawn media attention as his lawyer defends him against allegations by his ex-wife. During the case, Jones also made personal statements about making controversial statements in a more general sense and sometimes not meaning what he says in great detail. He contends he does not, in fact, mean everything he says to be taken at face value.