Social media hotshots and politicians alike gathered on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 5, to watch Twitter and Facebook executives answer questions about how they're combating foreign influence on their platforms. But there were two familiar faces who got into a rather ugly fight outside the hearing. This video of Marco Rubio and Alex Jones fighting is absolutely wild, and honestly you really won't even know what you're watching.
Sen. Rubio was at the Capitol for the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearings on foreign use of social media to influence U.S. elections, and during a recess from the hearings took questions from reporters. Jones, a conspiracy theorist who in recent weeks has pretty much been kicked off of every social media platform, stood among the crowd while Rubio spoke. The InfoWars host, who has promoted the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, continued to interrupt Rubio to urge him to talk about the "shadow-banning" and "purge of conservatives" from sites like Facebook. Jones continued to press until at one point Rubio said, "I don't know who you are, man." Things only escalated from there.
On the video, the two continued to bicker until Jones touched Rubio's shoulder and when security started to take note, Rubio said, “get your hand off me, don’t touch me... I’ll take care of it myself." Rubio continued to try and address reporters' questions while Jones spoke over them and slung insults like "little gangster thug" at Rubio. In short, it was wild.
You can watch the full video here:
Once Rubio left to head back inside the hearing, Jones continued complaining to reporters about how he's being silenced because his streams have been removed from prominent sites like YouTube and Facebook. On Aug. 6, Apple removed all traces of Jones from iTunes and their podcast networks, according to BuzzFeed. Apple explained to BuzzFeed that it does not "tolerate hate speech" and that they remove material that doesn't follow their guidelines. The statement said,
Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users. Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.
After Apple's move, YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify did the same. Facebook removed all the pages that were affiliated with Jones and InfoWars. In an Aug. 6 press release, Facebook said they removed the pages "for glorifying violence" and using "dehumanizing language" when talking about Muslims, immigrants, and people who are transgender. The statement read,
Upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.
As you can tell by the video of him and Rubio, Jones does not appreciate being banned from these prominent sites. Guess his ability to speak freely on Capitol Hill hasn't been taken away — no matter how ridiculous it ends up looking.