Inside Infowars’ crumbling empire: Ex-Staffers reveal the ‘volatile’ and ‘unhinged’ atmosphere working for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

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One afternoon in the spring of 2017 Alex Jones furiously lunged at his video producer.

Robert Jacobson, at the time Jones’ longest serving employee, was walking down a hallway at Infowars’ south Austin office when seemingly out of nowhere the show’s infamous host accosted him.

Jacobson had just finished editing a video of Jones riffing on the day’s news — the sort of misinformation filled rants that were a staple of the company’s daily output. But he had apparently added the wrong advertisement for one of the many snake-oils the host was hawking at the time.

Jabbing his fingers into Jacobson’s face he yelled, “You’re not going to ruin me, Jacobson. You’re not going to ruin me!” According to Jacobson, Jones had to be restrained by another Infowars staffer lest he actually hurt him.

When Jacobson started working for Jones in 2004 he was best known as a TV figure on Austin public television. On Austin Community Access Television Jones perfected the high-octane rants about Waco and fluoride in the water that propelled him to an audience of millions on and platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Jacobson had moved to Texas after being fired from a sound engineer job at the legendary recording studio Hit Factory, where Paul Simon recorded the album “Graceland” and Bruce Springsteen recorded “Born in the USA.” Depressed and looking for adventure, he moved to Austin and was introduced to Jones by an acquaintance.

“I did watch Alex quite a lot,” Jacobson recounted in an interview with Insider. “I was always into the conspiracy theory kind of stuff.”

Enamored by Jones’s showmanship Jacobson began editing Jones’ documentaries before becoming a producer on his show. He edited Jones’ films that suggested 9/11 was a false flag operation and Endgame, which baselessly claimed a group of powerful elites planned on exterminating 80% of the world’s population while investing in technology to enable them to live forever.

Jacobson said he still takes pride in the work he did for Jones at this point, only for the craftsmanship of the videos he produced. It could be high-adrenaline work, like they were David taking aim at Goliath. Jones’ conspiratorial, fact-challenged worldview deeply appealed to the lost, disaffected, youths he often recruited to work on the site. In interviews with Insider, Jacobson and three other Infowars employees said between bursts of anger he was also charismatic, generous, and at-times even a father figure. He took employees to movies and invited Jacobson to family holidays.

“He has a lot of charisma, yeah. And that doesn’t go away once the camera’s off. He doesn’t just slump his shoulders and kind of slink into the corner,” said Jacobson, who worked for Infowars from 2004 until 2017.

“He’s still very charismatic, very friendly to people he wants to be friendly with, of course.”

But by the time of the altercation Jacobson and Jones’s relationship had started to sour.

Eventually, Jacobson gave a critical deposition of Jones during his first Sandy Hooks damages trial last July in Texas. He told the courtroom he was testifying because of his guilt in not doing more to challenge Infowars’s coverage of the school shooting.

As Jones’ empire crumbles, and he faces a $1.4 billion judgment from lawsuits filed by the Sandy Hook families, the ex-staffers’ experiences help explain how Jones wielded his will and charisma over three decades to become the country’s best-known purveyor of lies and misinformation.

Alex Jones did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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