AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Attorneys for right-wing talk show host Alex Jones say his on-air persona should not be used against him in a child custody dispute with his ex-wife.
Jones’ attorney Randall Wilhite likened the conspiracy theorist to Jack Nicholson playing the Joker in “Batman,” implying that Jones’ parental abilities should not be evaluated on the person he plays on his website Infowars.com.
“He’s playing a character. He is a performance artist,” Wilhite said at the pretrial hearing this week.
Alex and Kelly Jones were divorced in 2015, and he became the primary parent of their three children. Kelly Jones, who has limited visitation rights, is seeking sole or joint custody of the kids.
At a pretrial hearing this week, Kelly Jones described Jones as “not a stable person,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Jones started with a local access television show in Austin, which led to a nightly radio show. Today “The Alex Jones Show” is syndicated on more than 160 stations across the country, according to Infowars. Jones calls himself “a trailblazer of new media and an icon of the burgeoning liberty movement.” According to Quantcast, Jones has a monthly audience of over 5 million worldwide for Infowars.com.
Jones has been called the “most paranoid man in America” by the Rolling Stone.
“The self-described libertarian, who hosts ‘The Alex Jones Show’ and operates the InfoWars website, has since ranted on a wide range of topics from New World Order plots turning Americans into sheep, to the truth behind the NASA moon landing, to terrorist attacks and mass shootings – including 9/11 and Sandy Hook – which he says are being covered up,” Rolling Stone said.
Jones has received praise from President Donald Trump, who appeared on Infowars in 2015. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump told him.
But Jones has faced backlash for some of his theories, especially ones he gets wrong. In March, Jones gave a video apology for his role in promoting the Pizzagate hoax, which claimed that top Democratic Party officials were members of a satanic child porn ring centered on the restaurant Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C. He apologized to the owner of the restaurant and said he fired two reporters he worked with on the story.
In his custody case, Jones’ attorneys believe his ranting conspiracy theories will be used by his ex-wife to show he is not fit to be a parent.
Travis County District Judge Orlinda Naranjo is tasked with choosing which videos of Alex Jones can be shown to the jury as evidence in support of Kelly Jones’ argument for custody.
At the pretrial hearing, the judge approved a video showing Alex Jones’ son at age 12 on Infowars. She also approved one of Jones using marijuana on comedian Joe Rogan’s live podcast in California.
The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.