Paul Joseph Watson, editor of InfoWars, has announced that he will soon be launching a new venture
Speaking on 5 March on the show of Alex Jones, the notorious US conspiracy theorist and founder of the InfoWars media outlet, long-time InfoWars contributor and British far-right conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson revealed that he would be launching a news site “where all my material is housed, and hopefully longer term we’re gonna get more writers on board”. He stated that he will be heading the project, but hopes to “generate the next generation of YouTubers, of young political commentators.”
While he will be “head honcho” of the new organisation, Jones added that the project was “pretty much [his] idea” and had been in the works for some time. Watson also added that his project will still involve “working together” with InfoWars and that his new organisation would still “be affiliated” with it.
However, HOPE not hate has long heard strong rumours within the UK far right that Alex Jones has been keen to break the UK and European markets and is ready to invest big this side of the Atlantic, begging the question, is this Jones’ plan finally coming to fruition?
In 2018 HOPE not hate started to hear rumours that Jones was planning a UK-based front group, with different branding, and possibly as much as $1,000,000 in seed capital to get the project off the ground. There were even rumours of palatial West London offices.
It’s been said that Jones’ intention was, as is the case for InfoWars in the US, to sell his widely criticised health and energy supplements to followers of this new project in the UK and Europe via product endorsements and advertisements in its videos. Rumours even suggested that his supplements had been submitted to UK regulators for testing, though HOPE not hate have been unable to confirm this.
After late 2013 InfoWars’ US business model switched from bringing in revenue through subscriptions, conventional advertising and merchandise, to an operation that focuses on hawking dubious supplements and survivalist equipment to its supporters.
Whilst this might at first seem incongruous, as New York Magazine’s Seth Brown describes it is quite fitting, “prey[ing] on the paranoias and insecurities of [Jones] listeners” (the same paranoia his show’s frequent conspiracy theorising foments). Moreover, it appears to have been highly lucrative, with Brown estimating that between February 2015 and 2017, these supplements could have brought in between $15,000,000 and $25,000,000.
It is perhaps no surprise then that Jones might be interested in opening up the potentially lucrative UK market to his products.
‘InfoWars YES’: Brain Force for Brits?
These developments coincide with another change to the InfoWars business model. In July 2018 the ‘InfoWars YES’ domain was registered and whilst it is unclear whether this was created specifically for just the US operation or also for a possible UK and Europe expansion, Jones has ramped up attention on it as Watson’s venture is set to emerge.
InfoWars YES appears to be taking an alternative approach to the traditionally hyperbolic, macho branding of InfoWars’ products (such as ‘Brain Force Plus’, ‘Alpha Power’, ‘Super Male Vitality’ and ‘Ultimate Bone Broth’). The InfoWars YES site features a calmer-than-usual looking Jones imploring visitors to the site to “Say yes to nutrition, skincare, energy, opportunity”.
The site sells products made by Jeunesse Global (JG), a multi-level marketing company based in the US which, in addition to making and selling the supplements themselves, encourages people and organisations – as is the case with InfoWars – to become distributors too. In August 2018 Jones interviewed Dr. Vincent Giampapa, a medical advisor to JG, and told viewers that he’d been talking to the company since two years prior, emphasising that this was how he would be looking to fund InfoWars’ operation in the future.
Jones stressed that JG was already a success in Europe and Asia and that his focus was to bring their products to a US audience, though he did not rule out taking an interest in their overseas operations. In October 2018 Jones had Conrad Padilla, an ‘Emerald Director’ of JG, on his InfoWars show and hinted at a broader picture. Jones introduced Padilla by saying that “we can use [JG] to sponsor some very exciting things that a little birdie has told me about that are going to be happening in Europe very, very soon… I’m just gonna stop right there.”
After being dealt major deplatforming blows in 2018, Watson’s new project could serve as a vital lifeline for InfoWars’ efforts and Jones’ partnership with JG may be his route to replicate his business model abroad.
As Media Matters’ Timothy Johnson has noted, “While host Alex Jones and many of his primary Infowars channels are banned from YouTube, Watson currently maintains a YouTube page with more than 1.5 million subscribers.” Moreover, as Johnson adds, Watson’s reach to a younger audience could be especially useful for Jones. Not only has the latter recently appeared on the hugely popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast, but InfoWars’ Kaitlin Bennett’s recently appeared on the show of major YouTuber Logan Paul, which was endorsed by Jones because its hosted by “college kids that the tweenies and 13-year-olds look up to.”
Despite his attempts to establish distance from Jones and InfoWars, Watson’s new venture is likely to be more of the same reactionary, conspiratorial nonsense we have come to expect from Jones and his media empire, and if these business developments are anything to go by, it will rely on a business model that likewise feed off the fears it cultivates.