(Getty/Oli Scarff)

Chobani sues Alex Jones after Infowars host links yogurt company's welcoming of refugees to Idaho violence

The Infowars host has made unfounded claims linking the company to a sexual assault committed by refugees


Matthew Rozsa
April 25, 2017 8:33PM (UTC)

Alex Jones is already receiving bad press from his child custody case, and now he is on the receiving end of a lawsuit that could even further embarrass the right-wing provocateur.

Chobani, an Idaho-based company that makes Greek yogurt, is suing Alex Jones by claiming that the notorious conspiracy theorist falsely linked the company, its owner Hamdi Ulukaya, and the community of Twin Falls to a sexual assault case that occurred in the area, according to a report by the Idaho Statesman. The company employees more than 300 refugees both in Twin Falls and at another plant in upstate New York, and Ulukaya himself is a well-known advocate for the refugee community.

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Unfortunately for him, Jones and other right-wing conspiracy theorists seized upon the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl by three refugees as fodder for their anti-immigrant agenda. Both police and prosecutors have dismissed many of their claims, including that the girl was raped (authorities say she was inappropriately touched by one of the men while the other two filmed him), that she was held at knifepoint (authorities say there was no knife present), and that the local police attempted to cover up the crime. As NBC noted:

During the video, an Infowars reporter republished statements that claimed the Chobani plant brought crime and tuberculosis since it opened the plant five years ago while also pointing out previous reports of its willingness to hire refugees in Twin Falls.

In one of the articles identified by Chobani as being fake news, Infowars claimed that "as the Turkish billionaire brings in foreign workers with tens of millions in taxpayer subsidies, Twin Falls, Idaho, has seen a 500 percent increase in tuberculosis and two high profile refugee rape cases in the last two months, including the gang rape of a 5-year-old girl."

In addition to $10,000 in damages (as well as attorney fees and punitive compensation), Chobani is demanding that Infowars retract its claims as incorrect. They are also accusing Infowars of violating the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.

 

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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