Massachusetts resident Marcel Fontaine is suing Alex Jones, the founder of InfoWars, for defamation, after the conspiracy theorist falsely named him as the suspect following February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
According to the Daily Beast, the lawsuit was filed in the district court of Travis County, Texas on Monday. It names host Alex Jones, reporter Kit Daniels, InfoWars LLC and its parent company Free Speech Systems, LLC.
The suit claims that Fontaine’s reputation was “irreparably tainted” when the right-wing media outlet incorrectly named him as the shooter in its report and is demanding over $1 million in reparations.
The report, written by Daniels on Feb. 14, featured an image of Fontaine wearing a novelty t-shirt with the words “Communist Party” written across it and famous communist thinkers drinking alcohol.
“Another alleged photo of the suspect shows communist garb,” the caption read. “Shooter is a commie.”
The article opened Fontaine up to “ridicule, harassment, and threats of violence.” According to the suit, “some InfoWars readers now believe that Mr. Fontaine is part of the supposed ‘false flag’ operation.”
The document goes on to describe how the article was potentially seen by “hundreds of millions” of people after a Republican state legislator from North Carolina shared it on social media. Fontaine is described as having suffered a “severe degree of mental stress and anguish” as a result of the mischaracterization and the widespread exposure of the article.
The suit details InfoWars’ long history and background of propagating false information and pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, with a focus on its coverage of mass shootings. Jones infamously called the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre a “hoax” and has falsely accused student and Parkland mass shooting survivor David Hogg of being a crisis actor.
InfoWars has not publicly acknowledged the suit yet and did not respond to requests for comment by the Daily Beast.