Right-Wing Activist Puts a Price on Disinformation

(Photo: Laura Sennett, One People's Project)

Ali Alexander, a longtime right-wing activist with ties to far-right figures in the pro-Trump movement, offered a $2,500 reward for anyone who could disprove his claim that a man who appeared at Saturday’s “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington, D.C., carrying an anti-Semitic sign was planted there by antifascist activists. Although Alexander was offered proof he was wrong, he hasn’t paid.

In a video uploaded to Periscope yesterday, Alexander—who previously went by Ali Akbar—claimed that the man who appeared at Saturday’s rally with a sign that said “Jews Own USA” was an antifascist activist posing as a right-wing rally-goer in order to smear other rally attendees as anti-Semites. Later in the video, Alexander floated the possibility that the man had been placed in the rally as part of a plot to murder anti-Muslim speaker Laura Loomer, who is Jewish.

(Photo: Adele Stan, Right Wing Watch)

Alexander gave two pieces of information to support his claim: that the sign carried by the alleged provocateur was mounted on a wood stick, and that the man had a physical appearance that led Alexander to believe he was not right-wing. Placing a sign on a wooden stick is “actually a technique of the left that was given to them by the Russians,” Alexander claimed. Alexander also claimed the anti-Semitic man was friendly with antifascists after he was ejected from the rally—a claim that runs contrary to multiple eyewitness accounts, including that of reporter Rachel Kurzius, who tweeted she saw the man engaged in “a verbal altercation with antifa.”

“Anyone who can prove me wrong on this story—the first person who can prove that I’m telling a lie—I will give $2,500 to,” Alexander said.

Freelance journalist Molly Conger and a leftist who goes as “Goad Gatsby” online responded to Alexander on Twitter with the information they gathered that identified the man who showed up to the rally as a little-known person named Shawn Jones. Conger located Ohio court records showing Jones had been convicted for domestic violence twice and discovered Jones had been posting his anti-Semitic views online for at least the last five years. Right Wing Watch was unable to find details online that suggested Jones had ever been involved in antifascist organizing.

Rather, a review of his social media profiles, some of which have been archived, indicates that Jones expresses particularly alt-right viewpoints, and is vehemently anti-Semitic. In a video he uploaded to YouTube after the right-wing rally, he claimed he was kicked out of the rally in Washington after he began accusing organizers of being led by Jews and of not being “the real alt-right.” On Facebook, Jones wrote that he should have “been more agressive and tried to fight all the large groups” of both pro-Trump and antifascist activists who confronted him about his anti-Semitic signage. In other posts, he alleged that antifa and liberal groups were created by the government, and derided them for rejecting his anti-Semitic message.

While doubling down on his theory in a tweet, Alexander nonetheless recycled the information sent by Conger and Gatsby to counter his claim. Alexander did not pay them the promised reward, Conger and Gatsby told Right Wing Watch.

Right Wing Watch reached Alexander and asked whether he had more information to support his claim that Jones was planted in the rally by antifascists.

“That’s my educated guess since he was caught on and off camera paling around with violent left-wing Antifa. I’m glad I was the one who kicked out the anti-Semite who put us all at risk and rushed the stage to harm me, as the video shows,” Alexander said via Twitter direct message. He declined to comment further.

Alexander did not respond to Right Wing Watch’s request for the footage he claimed to have allegedly showing Jones interacting in a friendly manner with antifascists, and he did not answer whether he planned to pay those who debunked his claim.

Alexander is reportedly attending the White House’s Social Media Summit on Thursday. Recently, Alexander was implicated in a smear campaign against Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris.