Alex Jones, the fiery conspiracy theorist and provocateur who commands an audience of millions based on the idea that he is one of the only purveyors of the unvarnished truth, is currently defending himself in a civil suit with an argument based partially on a claim that he is simply a performance artist, according to reporters who have been in the courtroom.
The host of Infowars is in an ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife, who says Jones is too volatile to have joint custody of their children. "He's not a stable person," she said at a recent pretrial hearing, according to the Austin American-Statesman, which also reported that her legal team plans to use some of his public statements to make that case.
The argument from Jones' attorney, the Statesman reported: "He's playing a character. He is a performance artist."
Similar issues were brought up by both sides during jury selection Monday, according to BuzzFeed News' Charlie Warzel, who was tweeting from the courtroom.
Using Jones' on-air persona to evaluate his temperament as a father, Jones' attorney said in the pre-trial hearing, according to the Statesman, would be like judging Jack Nicholson based on his role as the Joker in "Batman."
That defense will likely come as news to the millions who listen to Jones on radio broadcasts and Infowars.com, which had roughly 7.5 million unique visitors in the last month, according to Quantcast.
Lawyers for both Jones and his wife, who are under a gag order, did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Jones has gained notoriety in recent years for his angry tirades and conspiracy theories.
Among other false statements, Jones has said that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were an insider job and that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Last month, Jones issued a rare apology for his role in promoting the false "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory, which alleged that a child sex ring was being run out of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria.
Jones has also earned praise from Donald Trump. During the 2016 campaign, Trump called into Jones' show and told him, "Your reputation is amazing."