At the center of the case is the question of whether Jones, a high-energy conservative conspiracy theorist known for his extreme statements and outlandish on-air persona, is acting like his true self while he’s working or whether it’s all just for show.
“He’s not a stable person,” Kelly Jones, the commentator’s ex-wife, said during the pre-trial hearing, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “He says he wants to break Alec Baldwin’s neck. He wants J-Lo to get raped.”
Jones’ attorney, Randall Wilhite, told presiding state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo on Monday that Jones is not the unhinged person he appears to be on his radio show and countless InfoWars videos.
“He’s playing a character,” Wilhite said of Jones. “He is a performance artist.”
The quote sparked a minor shockwave across the internet as skeptics of Jones cheered in triumph at Wilhite confirming what they’d always believed about Jones’ authenticity—in court, no less.
Thing is, according to an InfoWars editor, Wilhite’s claim simply isn’t true: Jones really is that way all the time, InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson said during an April 2016 interview on The Rubin Report.
“You know, a lot of people think Alex Jones is a kind of act, that it’s put on, this radio personality he has. But if you meet him and you hang around with him, what you see is what you get—that’s Alex Jones,” Watson says in the interview. “He’s like that all the time. It’s not an act. He’s not putting it on.
“You know, in private, in person, he’s kind of more jovial and fun than his rants on the radio would suggest. But that’s him, that’s his personality. It’s not an act.”
At the time, Watson’s description of Jones as authentic in his on-air persona was not noteworthy—it’s a logical defense against critics and detractors who argue that Jones is a fraud. And it’s not clear whether Watson stands by his characterization a year later. (He did not respond to our request for clarification on that by press time.) What is clear: Jones has a lot to lose if the court concludes that Watson is correct.
The Jones custody trial began on Tuesday, as the court’s attention turned toward the firebrand’s mental health status, wealth, and how he has acted as father to his three children, a 14-year-old son and two daughters, ages 9 and 12. It is their future, not Jones’ credibility, that is now at stake.