- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2017

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones walked back claims concerning the Chobani yogurt company Wednesday in order to settle a defamation lawsuit filed last month in Idaho federal court.

The brains behind the “Infowars” website read a statement during Wednesday’s broadcast of “The Alex Jones Show,” his popular internet and radio program, in response to legal action initiated after alleging Chobani was “caught importing migrant rapists” to the Idaho town where it operates what is said to be the world’s largest yogurt factory.

“During the week of April 10, 2017, certain statements were made on the InfoWars Twitter feed and YouTube channel regarding Chobani L.L.C. that I now understand to be wrong,” Mr. Jones said Wednesday. “The tweets and video have now been retracted and will not be reposted. On behalf of InfoWars, I regret that we mischaracterized Chobani, its employees and the people of Twin Falls, Idaho, the way we did.”

“The case has been resolved,” Chobani spokesman Michael Gonda told The New York Times on Wednesday. The company had initially sought $10,000 in punitive damages, though the precise details of this week’s settlement have not been revealed.

Chobani sued Mr. Jones and his media companies, Infowars and Free Speech Systems, after the former published an article on April 11 indicating the company was responsible for wreaking havoc on Twin Falls.

Mr. Jones “published to thousands of subscribers and viewers on Twitter, YouTube and other platforms widely available to the public, false statements, including the false accusations that Chobani was ‘caught importing migrant rapists’ and that Chobani’s plant has brought ‘crime and tuberculosis’ to the Twin Falls community,” the lawsuit alleged — defamatory statements knowingly false or made with reckless disregard for the truth, according to Chobani’s attorneys.

Mr. Jones initially insisted he’d persevere, stating last month in response to the suit: “I’m not backing down, I’m never giving up, I love this.”

Wednesday’s settlement nonetheless marks the second time in two months Mr. Jones has been forced to retract allegations published by Infowars, a website that for years has peddled in conspiracy theories and unfounded hyperbole — “fake news,” in modern parlance.

In March he admitted pulling articles, audio and video broadcasts involving the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy in the face of legal threats initiated by a restauranteur in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this month, meanwhile, Mr. Jones said Infowars is in on the verge of obtaining regular White House press credentials. The Trump administration has not returned multiple requests for comment concerning the latest claim, but previously refuted a similar assertion earlier this year.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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