Apple and Spotify Remove Alex Jones' Podcast; Other InfoWars Shows Remain
Apple and Spotify have heard enough of Alex Jones, the kingpin of far-right conspiracy network InfoWars, pulling all episodes of his signature program from their podcast platforms. Both companies cited violations of hate speech policies for the complete removal of The Alex Jones Show, which has now been cut off from several distributors in recent days.
"We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community," a Spotify spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. "Due to repeated violations of Spotify’s prohibited content policies, The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform."
Apple, the largest podcast platform, said in a statement that it "does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users. Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions."
While Jones' show is gone from both powerful platforms, several other InfoWars podcasts remain on Spotify, including RealNews with David Knight, War Room and Counter Think with Mike Adams. On Apple, only RealNews survived the cull. Spotify did not respond to a request for comment on whether the remaining podcasts are under review.
Late last week, Scripps-owned Stitcher announced it would pull all episodes of Jones' show, citing his "harassment of private individuals and organizations" for the move. Notably, the company appears to have removed all InfoWars podcasts from its platform, replacing attempts to play episodes with a polite message ("This show is temporarily unavailable on Stitcher. We're sorry for the inconvenience and we'll update you when it returns").
As well, on Monday, Spreaker, the secondary hosting provider solution where The Alex Jones Show is hosted, announced that the show has been taken down because it violates the company's terms and service conditions because of "hate speech."
A Spreaker spokesperson told Billboard, "This decision will have an impact on the major podcasting listening platforms that distribute the content via the Podcast RSS feed and listening via Spreaker's listening apps, web audio players and website."
The increased scrutiny on Jones' flagship podcast follows actions taken by Facebook to suspend the provocateur's personal account, and for YouTube to take down several videos from Jones' InfoWars channel for violating "policies against child endangerment and hate speech."
Jones is currently the target of two defamation lawsuits, in Texas and Connecticut, brought by the families of several victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School, which he previously claimed was a hoax. In both suits, parents say Jones' spreading of conspiracies regarding the deaths of their children have led to harassment and death threats by his followers. As he has done previously when confronted in a legal setting, Jones has backed down from his media persona and now admits the Sandy Hook shooting occurred.
As previously reported, Jones launched an Infowars app on July in order to deliver podcasts directly to his fans. According to Apptopia, as of Sunday, the Infowars app has been downloaded about 93,000 times and has logged more than 600,000 hours spent in-app by these users in less than a month. The Infowars app is currently No. 37 in Apple's App Store news category, ahead of apps by MSNBC, Bloomberg Business, Pocket, NBC News and The Washington Post.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article stated that Spreaker still hosted The Alex Jones Show. After publishing, the company announced the show's removal from its service and the above text has been edited to reflect that decision.
Colin Stutz contributed to this report.