A Massachusetts man is suing far-right conspiracy website InfoWars and its founder, Alex Jones, for defamation after the website falsely claimed he was the gunman in March’s shooting in Parkland, Fla.
The Daily Beast reported Monday that plaintiff Marcel Fontaine filed a lawsuit in Texas, where InfoWars is based, that claims InfoWars targeted Fontaine as the suspected shooter because he wore a T-shirt featuring communist leaders in a photo posted to social media.
The outlet published a story on Feb. 14, the day of the Parkland shooting, with the headline “Reported Florida shooter Dressed as Communist, Supported ISIS” and a photo of Fontaine, according to the lawsuit. But Fontaine didn’t have anything to do with the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, according to the lawsuit, has never traveled to Florida.
Fontaine’s lawsuit claims InfoWars damaged his reputation. He is seeking “over $1 million.”
“Mr. Fontaine was not involved with the Douglas High School tragedy. Mr. Fontaine resides in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has never traveled to Florida,” the lawsuit states.
“He is an ordinary young man with no connection to these events. The articles were manifestly false and have caused him enormous injury and continuing personal harassment,” it continues.
The lawsuit also notes Jones’s history of promoting conspiracy theories, including his claims that mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sandy Hook were “false flags” orchestrated by the government.
Jones did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The suspected gunman in the shooting, Nikolas Cruz, was formally charged last month with 17 counts of murder.
A Virginia man who attended the white supremacist rally last year in Charlottesville, Va., as a counterprotester recently filed a defamation lawsuit against InfoWars and Jones as well for spreading conspiracy theories about his role at the rally.