Roku Hosts Alex Jones' Infowars Channels After Facebook, YouTube Ban for Hate Speech and 'Glorifying Violence'

UPDATE: Roku has removed the Infowars channel.

After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform. Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.

— Roku (@Roku) January 16, 2019

Popular streaming service Roku has added conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to their Channel Store, offering two channels from his beleaguered Infowars media empire—banned in 2018 from other platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Spotify.

Roku's Infowars channels were first criticized by Twitter user DanielMadison78 and amplified by Sleeping Giants, an activist organization targeting companies who purchase ads with far right media outlets, including Infowars and Breitbart News.

@slpng_giants Hey guys, Roku just Put an Infowars channel up today, here’s some screen shots of my interactions.

— Raul Pudd (@DanielMadison78) January 15, 2019

Roku has since deleted their tweet—offering advice for how to activate the Infowars channel, hashtagged "HappyStreaming"—responding to DanielMadison78.

"Customers choose and control which channels they download or watch," a spokesperson for Roku told Newsweek. "We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint. While open to many voices, we have policies that prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights, among other things. If we determine a channel violates these policies, it will be removed. To our knowledge, Infowars is not currently in violation of these content policies."

Jones is currently embroiled in a lawsuit brought by families of those killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty children and six members of the school staff were killed by a gunman wielding a Bushmaster XM-15, a semiautomatic, AR-15 style rifle. Jones often claimed the victims were not killed, but were instead "crisis actors" participating in a government conspiracy.

The lawsuit plaintiffs—family of eight Sandy Hook victims—cited harassment from Infowars fans, including death threats and "strange individuals videotaping them and their children" in their defamation suit against Jones. On Saturday, Judge Barbara Bellis of the Connecticut Superior Court ordered Jones to surrender internal Infowars documents related to the shooting and detail the conspiracy outlet's marketing strategies.

"From the beginning, we have alleged that Alex Jones and his financial network trafficked in lies and hate in order to profit from the grief of Sandy Hook families," their lawyer, Chris Mattei, said in a statement.

Lawyer Josh Koskoff, who also represents the Sandy Hook families in their lawsuit, released the following statement to Newsweek reacting to Roku's Infowars content:

"Roku's shocking decision to carry Infowars and provide a platform for Alex Jones is an insult to the memory of the 26 children and educators killed at Sandy Hook. Worse, it interferes with families' efforts to prevent people like Jones from profiting off innocent victims whose lives have been turned upside down by unspeakable loss. We call on Roku to realize this and immediately pull the program. Until then, the families will be switching to alternate streaming providers that know the difference between authentic – if provocative – opinions and a lying opportunist seeking to make money by any means possible. There is no amount of anticipated revenue that could possibly justify Roku's calculated decision."

To fully understand the abject suffering Alex Jones caused the families in Sandy Hook please listen to this episode of The Daily podcast. The agony wrought by this man - on families who had already endured unfathomable tragedy - made a reporter cry on air.

— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) January 11, 2019

Infowars has not responded to a request for comment from Newsweek.

On August 6, 2018, Apple, Spotify, and Facebook banned Infowars content, including podcasts and videos. Twitter followed suit a month later, permanently suspending Jones from the social media platform. Apple, YouTube and Facebook all cited platform policies regarding hate speech, with Facebook describing Infowars content as "glorifying violence...and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants."

Infowars "expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics," Spotify said in its own statement.

In the weeks after the ban, Infowars traffic dropped by half, from 1.4 million visits and video views on an average day to 715,000, according to The New York Times.

Alex Jones has previously peddled conspiracy theories involving the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, "weather weapon" tornadoes and the Boston Marathon bombing. He has claimed Carrie Fisher was killed to boost Star Wars ticket sales and accused numerous political figures of being demons who rape children. Infowars was also one of the first outlets to falsely claim millions of undocumented immigrants would vote illegally in the 2016 election, an empty assertion later promoted by President Donald Trump, who praised Jones in a 2015 Infowars interview.

"Tap into the truth of the world with Infowars, one of the most popular alternative media sources on the planet and get tomorrow's news today," the description reads for the Infowars Live channel now available on Roku.

This story has been updated with the statement from Josh Koskoff released to Newsweek.