Courtesy of YTV
On Monday afternoon, prominent alt-right radio host Alex Jones visited Yale to create content for his website InfoWars.com, a multimedia outlet known for spreading conspiracy theories.
Jones stood outside of the Skull and Bones tomb on High Street — the meeting place for Yale’s oldest secret society — and made unverified claims that the group was involved in the founding of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. He came to New Haven with bodyguards and a cameraman; neither Jones nor those who accompanied him wore masks.
“Skull and Bones is on record helping found the CIA,” Jones said in an interview with the News. “And it really is at the root of some of the corrupt, out-of-control elites in America. The same elites that are trying to avert the American people to class warfare are the ones that opened up China, that are involved in a lot of different types of authoritarianism.”
Jones cited the 2006 film “The Good Shepherd” as a “historical example” of this claim. The film, which references the Skull and Bones society, is about the creation of counterintelligence in the CIA during the Cold War and has been criticized by members of the CIA’s history staff for inaccuracy.
InfoWars — whose content has been restricted by platforms such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Spotify for propagating misinformation — is a leading far-right conspiracy theory website in the United States, with approximately 715,000 daily visits, according to a New York Times article from 2018.
During his visit, a crowd of around 20 students surrounded Jones. He was met with significant student pushback, particularly over his past claims that victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting were crisis actors. In 2019, Jones was ordered to pay over $100,000 in a defamation lawsuit filed by the family of a Sandy Hook victim — one of several defamation suits he has faced in recent years.
Jones’ visit also comes during a period when Yale has asked visitors to stay away from campus due to the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
“It was definitely irresponsible to come on to campus during a pandemic maskless,” said Lydia Monk ’24, who is also a copy staffer for the News.
Shan Gunasekera ’24 told the News that while he disagrees with some of Jones’ views, Jones has the right to walk around New Haven.
“I think that he says a lot of problematic stuff, having said that, I don’t think people should have any problem with seeing him on the street,” Gunasekera said. “He’s there out of his own accord in a public space where anyone is allowed to be, and I really don’t see the problem people take in that.”
Skull and Bones was founded in 1832.
Simisola Fagbemi | firstname.lastname@example.org