Alex Jones claimed Facebook would ban him if he kept using an anti-trans slur. He hasn't stopped, and he's still on Facebook.
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Sarah Wasko / Media Matters
Alex Jones has claimed several times that Facebook executives told him he would be banned from the platform for his use of the anti-trans slur “tranny.” Despite supposedly receiving these warnings, Jones has not backed down and continues to use the disparaging term on his show, which he streams on Facebook Live. Jones is a right-wing conspiracy theorist and ally of President Donald Trump with a history of anti-LGBTQ extremism.
Jones frequently targets the transgender community on his show, often using slurs to refer to transgender folks, dehumanizing their existence, and spreading vile rhetoric about them. He once claimed that transgender women may be gay men who want to “go pick up more guys” by getting “breast implants” and trying to “doll [their] hair up,” and he has also said that being transgender and having a baby is like him deciding that he is a “50-foot, red, purple, striped giraffe” that “give[s] birth to leprechauns.” In other segments, Jones has said that accepting transgender people is a slippery slope to “brain chips” and, on multiple occasions, he has tried to disparage former first lady Michelle Obama by saying she is transgender and may have committed murder to cover it up.
Jones frequently uses the dehumanizing slur “tranny” to refer to transgender people. In fact, during his November 13 broadcast, Jones said a “high level” employee at Facebook contacted him and purportedly told him that if he continued to use “tranny,” he would be banned. (The video is still available on Facebook with the title “Facebook Forbids Infowars From Saying ‘Tranny’ or ‘Drag Queen.’”) Facebook community guidelines prohibit hate speech “that directly attacks people based on their … sex, gender, or gender identity.”
Despite the supposed warning, Jones continues to use the slur. He said “tranny, tranny, tranny, tranny, tranny, tranny, tranny, tranny” during his November 20 broadcast, and, on December 19, he said, “James Brown never died, folks, he just became a tranny. That tranny’s called Maxine Waters,” referring to the Democratic member of Congress from California. Jones seems to be trying to taunt Facebook by repeatedly talking about his supposed conversations with its executives and his continued use of the slur:
Writing for The Advocate, Parker Molloy described the violence and hatred tied to the slur:
It’s a term tied to a history of violence, oppression, anger, and hate. It’s a term I’ve been called by those who wish to harm me. And frankly, it’s a term many trans women, like slain New Yorker Islan Nettles, hear immediately prior to falling victim to physical violence.
As Dana McCallum wrote in a 2012 article for Medium, “It’s a word people use to make trans people feel like shit, to reject our humanity, and to isolate us from the rest of the world. It’s a word people scream when they are beating us, strangling us, shooting us, setting us on fire, and dumping our bodies in ditches.”
At a time when the amount of violence against and killings of transgender folks -- particularly trans women of color -- is growing, Jones’ use of the slur is particularly jarring.
Video by John Kerr.