The conspiracy theory website InfoWars wrongly published a photo of Marcel Fontaine, labeling him as the Parkland high school shooter. Now, Fontaine, who lives in Massachusetts and has, according to his lawsuit, never been to Florida, is suing InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones for more than $1,000,000.
The photo of Fontaine that InfoWars published showed Fontaine in a T-shirt that the lawsuit says “makes a visual pun on the phrase ‘communist party’ by depicting communist historical figures in a state of merriment and intoxication, complete with German economist Karl Marx wearing a lampshade on his head.” After the article was published, Fontaine’s “photograph spread across social media platforms with astonishing speed, resulting in its distribution to millions of additional people, typically accompanied by ridicule or malicious threats.”
The Washington Post uploaded a copy of the lawsuit. The lawsuit notes that InfoWars now has White House press credentials.
“It appears that Mr. Fontaine was targeted by InfoWars due to the t-shirt he was wearing in his photograph,” the lawsuit states.
InfoWars published a “retraction, clarification, and correction” on its original story admitting error. That note reads:
“Retraction, clarification, and correction:On this webpage on February 14, 2018, we showed a photograph of a young man that we had received and stated incorrectly that it was an alleged photo of the suspected shooter at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Infowars promptly removed the contents of this webpage within hours after posting on February 14, 2018. The young man whose picture was shown later contacted us and asked that we take the photo down, but we had already done so several days before. We regret that this error occurred.”
Last year, InfoWars apologized for a story “Idaho Yogurt Maker Caught Importing Migrant Rapists,” after Chobani yogurt company sued.
The New York Times noted that Jones wrongly claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was “completely fake” and Sept. 11 was an “inside job,” and that he previously apologized for sharing the Pizzagate hoax about Washington D.C. pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong.