In a New York Times story titled "I Worked for Alex Jones. I Regret It," Josh Owens recounts his time working as a video producer for InfoWars. He says was a passenger in Jones' car and that Jones drank vodka from a cup while driving, that Jones would challenge people to punching contests and broke a video editor's ribs, and that Jones once fired an AR-15 in his direction, missing him by 10 feet (Jones "claimed he had intentionally fired the gun as a joke," write Owens.) He also describes the time Jones tried to kill an American Bison with a pistol:
One weekend, a few people from the office went hunting at a game reserve. On the following Monday, I was handed a hard drive full of video files and told to edit them for Jones to air on his show later in the week. "There are clips in here that are pretty bad, things we don't want to get out, so let me take a look at this before we upload it," one of my managers said.
The first video I clicked on came from a cellphone. The camera pans across a blood-covered floor in what looked like a garage. Dead animals were scattered about: eyes lifeless, tongues hanging from their mouths, crimson streaks splashed on their fur.
In another video, a bison grazed quietly in the shade of a large tree; it reminded me of a tableau at the American Museum of Natural History. Then the camera panned over to Jones, maybe 20 yards away, holding what looked like a handgun. Jones began firing at the bison, tufts of hair flying with every hit. The animal remained standing as Jones shot round after round. Finally, the hunting guide yelled at Jones to stop and handed him a high-caliber rifle. Jones took a moment to make sure the cameras were still recording and fired a few more rounds as the animal finally collapsed.
Worst of all, writes Owens, is the way Jones insisted his employees make videos that demonized people:
Jones told us to file a story that accused the police of harassment, lending credence to the theory that this community contained dangerous, potential terrorists. I knew this wasn't the case according to the information we had. We all did. Days before, we spoke to the sheriff and the mayor of Deposit, N.Y., a nearby municipality. They both told us the people in Islamberg were kind, generous neighbors who welcomed the surrounding community into their homes, even celebrating holidays together.
The information did not meet our expectations, so we made it up, preying on the vulnerable and feeding the prejudices and fears of Jones's audience. We ignored certain facts, fabricated others and took situations out of context to fit our narrative, posting headlines like:
Drone Investigates Islamic Training Center
Shariah Law Zones Confirmed in America
Infowars Reporters Stalked by Terrorism Task Force
Report: Obama's Terror Cells in the U.S.
The Rumors Are True: Shariah Law Is Here!
Owens said he grew to regret working for Jones and quit on April 7, 2017.
(Image: Sean P. Anderson , CC-BY)