InfoWars Article on Parkland Put Man 'in Genuine Peril': Suit

24-year-old Massachusetts man suing Alex Jones, website for $1M
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2018 7:38 AM CDT
In this April 17, 2017, file photo, "Infowars" host Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas.   (Tamir Kalifa/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

(Newser) – Nearly seven weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one young man believes his life "remains in genuine peril"—but not from guns. Marcel Fontaine of Massachusetts has filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars website, claiming he faces "ridicule, harassment, and threats of violence" after an InfoWars article suggested he was the Parkland school shooter, reports the Daily Beast. Written by Kit Daniels, the Feb. 14 article included a photo of Fontaine wearing a T-shirt showing communist leaders partying; the photo had been shared four days earlier on 4Chan, BuzzFeed News reports. An "alleged photo of the suspect shows communist garb," Daniels captioned the photo, under headlines like, "Reported Florida Shooter Dressed as Communist, Supported ISIS."

Shared by a Republican state legislator in North Carolina, the article was viewed by "hundreds of millions" of people, many of whom distrust mainstream media and still believe Fontaine to be the shooter, the suit states. "He now genuinely fears for his safety," says attorney Mark Bankston. "A reverse image search would have shown that he had nothing to do with Florida or the school shooting" but InfoWars published the 24-year-old's photo "knowing it was false or with such reckless disregard that they didn't care," he says. Fontaine asked for a correction 30 days ago but was ignored, Bankston adds. An editor's note on InfoWars now disputes that. "We showed a photograph of a young man … and stated incorrectly that it was an alleged photo of the suspected shooter," it states. It adds the photo was removed "several days before" Fontaine reached out.

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