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It’s really a sad thing when you see one of the people you have admired for so long have such a dramatic and self-inflicted fall from grace. For some right-wing extremists, I’m sure that love for Alex Jones took a hit as the conspiracy radio host has lost case after case in court while begging for money from his followers. For the culture, Kanye West was someone that we have grown with and loved over the last 20 years, and at times had to put up with his seemingly harmless publicity stunts.
But long gone are the days of giving Kanye a free pass for the hurtful and hateful things he does and says.
In fact, it’s time he starts being held financially responsible for his words.
Now before some of you go “WhAt AbOuT fReEdOm Of SpEeCh,” I’m not implying that Kanye West doesn’t have the freedom to say whatever the hell he wants. In fact, he’s displayed that freedom freely over the last 20 years. What I AM implying is that just because you have the freedom to do something doesn’t mean it absolves you of the consequences from doing it.
Case in point, Alex Jones. Jones has the freedom to share whatever ignorant conspiracy theory he wants, and quite frankly, he has operated and benefited financially from that freedom for years. He has “f*cked around” for the better part of the last decade, pushing the narrative that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax on his radio show Infowars.
Jones’ freedom of speech caused emotional distress to Sandy Hook families with many of them receiving death threats, harassment, and even being forced to move, all because of Infowars supporters. While the families of Sandy Hook were suffering, Jones was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars and saw his net worth grow to near $200 million.
It’s time to drop Kanye
But now, Jones is in the “finding out” stage of his ignorant freedom of speech experiment. A Connecticut jury recently ordered him to pay nearly $1 BILLION to the Sandy Hook families for defamation, slander, and emotional distress damages.
And it’s probably time Kanye starts “finding out” after he’s “f*cked around” for years with ignorant statement after ignorant statement.
There is a responsibility that comes with having a large following and influence. Your words carry more weight than most because die-hard supporters will take those words as gospel and run with them, many times further than the original author intended.
It’s why the January 6 insurrection happened (although let’s be honest, Trump definitely intended for that to happen). Appealing to the least intelligent with statements that stoke rage and anger will almost always have violent consequences.
Now, the friends and family of George Floyd are dealing with the same bullshit that those of Sandy Hook had to deal with, all because Kanye West wants to claim he’s “free thinking”.
It’s not “free thinking” when you say ignorant statements like “George Floyd died from fentanyl” or “the officer’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that”, both statements that are categorically incorrect and have been disproven by multiple experts.
It’s not “free thinking” when you wear a “White lives matter” shirt, which is an unoriginal and obvious slap in the face to the “Black lives matter” movement. All that does is give fuel to the White supremacists who’ll say “see, we’re justified in our actions because here’s a Black celebrity echoing our ignorance”.
Luckily, companies like Adidas have “placed their partnership under review” with Kanye because of his ignorant speech. And the family of George Floyd is considering legal action against Kanye for spreading false and hurtful information about his death.
While one cannot defame the dead, the family of #GeorgeFloyd is considering suit for Kanye’s false statements about the manner of his death.
Claiming Floyd died from fentanyl not the brutality established criminally and civilly undermines & diminishes the Floyd family’s fight.
— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) October 16, 2022
Hopefully for all the “finding out” Alex Jones has been doing this past year it will give others with a large platform who spew hateful and ignorant false information some reservation. They should understand that there could very well be financial ramifications for their words.
They have the freedom of speech to say what they want, but as they are finding out, they’re not free from the consequences of their speech.