Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered by New York’s attorney general to stop suggesting that products he sells will help prevent or treat coronavirus. In a letter Thursday, Attorney General Letitia James’ office advised Jones to “immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims as they violate New York’s consumer protection statutes.”
“As the coronavirus continues to pose serious risks to public health, Alex Jones has spewed outright lies and has profited off of New Yorkers’ anxieties,” James said in a statement. “Mr. Jones’ public platform has not only given him a microphone to shout inflammatory rhetoric, but his latest mistruths are incredibly dangerous and pose a serious threat to the public health of New Yorkers and individuals across the nation.”
Jones—who has promoted the idea that COVID-19 is a manmade bioweapon—has been using his massive platform to hawk products for sale on his Infowars website that he has claimed are “literally a stop-gap” against coronavirus. That includes supplemental pills called “DNA Force,” as well as a special nanosilver toothpaste with ingredients that he said had been tested by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
“For just your daily life and your gums and your teeth and for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have—the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security and said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range. Well of course it does, it kills every virus,” Jones said on March 10, in comments first reported by Media Matters.
Jones is not the only person trying to capitalize off the current COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to seven companies who were selling products advertised to treat or prevent coronavirus. Since then, six of the seven companies have told Mother Jones that they have complied with the FDA’s concerns.
The seventh entity targeted by the FDA and FTC—the TV show of televangelist Jim Bakker—did not respond to requests for comment and has since has found itself in more legal trouble. Bakker was sued by Missouri’s attorney general on Tuesday for selling a colloidal silver product that his show suggested could help combat coronavirus. James, the New York AG, also issued a cease and desist letter to the Jim Bakker Show, as well as to Dr. Sherrill Sellman, who, according to James’ office, touted colloidal silver products on Bakker’s show.
Jones, who was arrested Monday night on charges of driving while intoxicated, seems to be unfazed by the threat of legal action. On his show Thursday, Jones dismissed the effort to stop him from selling his coronavirus-related products. “They claim that I am selling toothpaste that I say will cure you of the coronavirus,” he said. “Never said that. We have a company that makes it out of Colorado that has certified that it takes out viruses in general, and in that same family of corona, not this corona, but it’s the same deal. I sell the toothpaste as a tooth whitening toothpaste with nanosilver.” He then went on to advertise more nanosilver-related products that he claimed will boost immunity.