Sen. Rubio to Infowars host Jones: ‘Don’t touch me again’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist, tried to make himself the sideshow — even the center — of a Senate hearing Wednesday on social media and elections.

But it was a later hearing, in the House, that was to address his pet cause of a perceived social media bias against conservatives.

Jones made a surprise appearance outside the Senate intelligence committee’s hearing with Facebook and Twitter executives, and he told reporters that he was there to “face my accusers.” He livestreamed a news conference on his Twitter account, which has been restored after a weeklong suspension last month.

The “Infowars” host’s bread and butter is shouting over-the-top grievances and conspiracy theories in videos that he shares on social media, radio and his own websites. InfoWars spreads demonstrably false information and conspiracy theories on a host of issues, including claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Jones was temporarily suspended from Facebook, and several of his pages were banned for what Facebook said was hate speech and bullying.

Jones says the “real election meddling” is the silencing of conservatives on social media, “just like Communist China.” The companies deny that’s happening and there is no reliable evidence to support Jones’ charge.

After the Senate hearing, Jones clashed with Sen. Marco Rubio as the Florida Republican answered reporters’ questions in a hallway.

Jones repeatedly interrupted Rubio while he was attempting to answer questions from reporters during a recess.

After talking over Rubio a few times, Jones tapped the senator on the shoulder, as seen in video live-streamed and promoted by Cassandra Fairbanks, a right-wing blogger and an activist.

“Hey, don’t touch me again, man,” Rubio said to Jones. “I’m asking you not to touch me again.”

“Sure, I just patted you nicely,” said Jones, who was standing to Rubio’s right in the swarm of reporters, Rubio’s staff and security in the Senate hallway.

Rubio replied, “But I don’t want to be touched. I don’t know who you are.”

“You want me to get arrested,” Jones claimed.

Rubio then said, “You’re not going to get arrested. I’ll take care of you myself.”

That led Jones to repeatedly argue to the assembled reporters that Rubio “threatened to physically take care of me.”

A spokesperson for Rubio’s office said the video speaks for itself.

Jones also hurled other attacks at Rubio, including calling the Florida senator a “little frat boy,” “snake-like” and a “gangster thug.”

After attempting to answer a few more questions over Jones’ continued commentary, Rubio, who sits on the Senate panel, told reporters “you guys can talk to this clown,” before walking off.

Rubio later told reporters that coverage of Jones made “crazy people superstars.”

“I know you’ve got to cover them, but you give these guys way too much attention,” Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We’re making crazy people superstars. So, we (are) going to get crazier people.”

Jones also appeared to try to confront Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, after their Senate testimony. Jones followed at least one of them outside the Senate office building, but his SUV was pulling away already.


Ortutay reported from New York. CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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