Alex Jones, the unhinged right-wing commentator behind the popular website and radio program InfoWars, is currently involved in a child custody battle with his ex-wife Kelly Jones, and one of his lawyers is making the intriguing argument that his venomous on-air rants shouldn’t figure into the decision because they are actually art. “He’s playing a character,” the attorney recently told a Texas court, according to the Austin American-Statesmen. “He is a performance artist.”
This is an especially notable argument since some readers may recall that, in the days before the 2016 United States presidential election, various right-wing media sites— including InfoWars!—ran reports suggesting that performance artist Marina Abramovic had hosted a sex-filled black-magic dinner and invited John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The InfoWars headline screamed: “ ‘SPIRIT COOKING’: CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN PRACTICES BIZARRE OCCULT RITUAL.” In actuality, the dinner was just a little celebration for a successful Kickstarter the artist had done, and Podesta didn’t even attend.
“I mean, this world is really turning to hell,” Abramovic told me back in November with a remarkable amount of good humor for an artist who was being called a Satanist across the internet. “I am completely amazed, something is taken out of context for the purpose of winning.”
Curiously, as Talking Points Memo (which alerted me to the story) pointed out, this is not the first time that Jones has played the “performance art” card. Earlier this month, the man whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as “almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America” apologized for threatening House rep Adam Schiff (“I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch,” he said during a real stemwinder in late March) by stating that his diatribe was “clearly tongue-in-cheek and basically art performance” and saying that he does his “rants…as a form of art.”
Kelly Jones is suing for sole or joint custody of their three children and has alleged that she believes Jones is “not a stable person.”