Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is continuing to suggest that supplements he sells through his Infowars outlet offer protection against the 2019 novel coronavirus and, in recent days, has ramped up marketing for a multivitamin he sells called The Real Red Pill. On March 12, New York Attorney General Letitia James sent Jones a notice that ordered him “to immediately cease and desist selling and marketing products as a treatment or cure for the coronavirus.”
Since the cease-and-desist letter was sent, Jones has become more creative in his product pitches -- employing wordplay and innuendo -- but the conclusion remains inescapable that he is continuing to suggest that his products will help people with the 2019 coronavirus.
After previously claiming that a colloidal silver toothpaste he sells “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range” and that other other Infowars Store products are coronavirus preventatives, Jones is now seeking to take advantage of people looking to purchase zinc, which is an ingredient in The Real Red Pill supplement he sells. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19” and “the best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.” A March 23 New York Times article about a surge of consumer interest in zinc and other dietary supplements noted, “None of these products have been shown to lower the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus or shortening its course, and taking large doses of them can potentially do harm.”
Marketing information about The Real Red Pill at the Infowars Store describes it as a “heart and brain formula” that was “designed specifically and exclusively for Infowars Life” to “support healthy aging and cognitive function.” A bottle of 120 pills costs $39.95. According to an image of the supplement bottle, a dose of two pills contains 15 milligrams of zinc, which the bottle lists as 100% of the daily recommended amount. The marketing page includes the disclaimer that “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” but Jones has repeatedly suggested the product offers some benefit against COVID-19 in product pitches during his broadcasts.
During a March 21 broadcast aired on Infowars streaming platform Banned.video, Jones used wordplay to suggest that The Real Red Pill would help treat the coronavirus. Claiming that “big drug companies” want The Real Red Pill “banned because of what it does for so many people on so many fronts,” Jones said, “And I want to be infinity clear: It is not meant to treat or diagnose the novel coronavirus.” He then paused for a moment and said, “And oxygen is not meant to let humans live.” Jones then suggested that the ingredients in The Real Red Pill prevent viral infections rather than treating or curing them, claiming, “When you don’t have enough of it and you’re deficient, that’s how the viruses get in.”
The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times and its description includes a link to the Infowars Store product page for The Real Red Pill.
During the March 22 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones claimed that unnamed people don’t want the general public to know that zinc is an antiviral and that taking it also supposedly lowers by 90% the chance of getting “all these different cancers.” Jones then started pitching The Real Red Pill, noting that he had asked his staff recently “why isn’t it in the bestseller list” considering it contains “a big nice dose” of zinc. He went on to say that zinc is not a “silver bullet” but that according to a microbiologist he talked to, taking zinc means viruses “can’t go into the cells as easy and order the mitochondria to mass produce the viruses, and it coats the cell.” Later in the show Jones again pitched The Real Red Pill, noting “it’s sold out pretty much everywhere” and said, “You need to take [zinc] before you come into contact of these type of things.” Later on, Jones explicitly connected zinc to lessening the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying, “The media won't tell you, the globalists won’t tell you about zinc. They won’t tell you because they don’t want you to know. They want this to be as bad as it can.”
During his March 23 broadcast, Jones touted hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that has been promoted by President Donald Trump, even though it has not been approved by the FDA to treat the novel coronavirus. According to a recent small study, the drug “was no more effective than conventional care” in treating the 2019 coronavirus. Jones however claimed that the drug is “pretty much a cure” for the novel coronavirus and “helps almost everybody.” Claiming that hydroxychloroquine works by forcing “your body to push zinc into the cells,” Jones then touted The Real Red Pill and claimed that it also works by “pushing all of that into your body.”
In recent days, Banned.video has been running a banner ad for The Real Red Pill that appears above all videos encouraging viewers to “add a boost of zinc & pregnenolone to your daily routine.” This means that Jones can tout the supposed benefits of zinc against the novel coronavirus without explicitly saying the name of his product. For example, later during his March 23 broadcast, Jones claimed that “there are things out there that massively, massively mitigate this virus” before adding, “but you’ve got to have the zinc in your body” at triple the daily recommended dose “before you come in contact with it or other viruses.”
In addition to a banner ad for The Real Red Pill that ran above the video, the video’s description includes a link to purchase The Real Red Pill Plus, which is similar to The Real Red Pill, including the amount of zinc per dose, but with the addition of “a NEW energy boosting combination.”
In addition to leaning heavily into the promotion of The Real Red Pill in recent days, Jones has also pitched a colloidal silver “wound gel” sold at the Infowars Store that Jones claimed on his March 22 broadcast “creates a shield on your hands” that is longer lasting than the protection against coronavirus offered by alcohol in hand sanitizers.