- Instagram is investigating a post by Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that has stoked anti-Semitic hate.
- Jones posted a painting by US artist Mear One, which depicts six suited men sitting around a Monopoly board being held up by four subservient figures.
- Another version of the painting sparked controversy in Britain last year when politician Jeremy Corbyn described it as “deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic,” after initially supporting the artwork.
- Many of the comments on Jones’ post contain hate against the Jewish community, with one user remarking: “Stop Zionist shilling.”
- There is growing pressure on Instagram to shut down Jones’ account following his removal from Facebook last year.
Instagram is investigating after Alex Jones stoked anti-Semitic hate by posting a painting that has been condemned as being offensive to Jewish people.
Amid growing pressure on Instagram to shut down Jones’ account following his removal from Facebook, Business Insider drew the company’s attention to an image the Infowars conspiracy theorist posted last week, which is whipping up anti-Semitic comments among his 320,000 followers. Instagram is now reviewing the post.
Accompanied by hashtags including “#resistglobalism,” Jones’ post depicts a 2016 painting by American artist Mear One, titled “False Profits.” The painting shows six suited men sitting around a Monopoly board, which is being held up by four subservient figures, shorn of their clothes.
It’s another version of a mural, named “Freedom of Humanity,” that Mear One painted in London in 2012. This mural sparked controversy last year when British politician Jeremy Corbyn voiced his support for the work ahead of plans to remove it. After an outpouring of anger, Corbyn later said he regretted the remark and made clear that Mear One’s mural was “deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.”
At the time, Dave Rich, head of policy at Jewish charity Community Security Trust, wrote about the painting’s anti-Semitic tropes in the Jewish Chronicle. “For those who drink deep from the antisemitic well, it is a conspiracy theory in which Jews are responsible for all the ills of the world,” he said.
Mear One has described as “hysteria” the idea that the work was a reference to Jewish people. He made the comments in a blog on the website of renowned conspiracy theorist David Icke, who has been accused of being a holocaust denier. “This mural is about class, not race, and labeling it as anti-Semitic is a divisive, self-interested political tactic,” Mear One added on Twitter, in a post he retweeted only this week.
Many of Jones’ Instagram followers interpreted the figures sat at the Monopoly board as being Jewish. “Look at all those jews,” said one comment. “Stop Zionist shilling,” read another. “F—ing jews,” a third person remarked.
Facebook’s community standards makes clear that hate speech is not tolerated. This includes “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation” in “written or visual form.”
Business Insider has contacted Jones for comment through Infowars and will update if we hear back.
Facebook banned Alex Jones last year
Facebook banned Jones from its platform in August last year for violating its community standards. The company is now under pressure to remove him from Instagram, the photo-sharing app it acquired in 2012, amid concerns he is part of a growing hotbed of far-right hate on the platform.
Activist group Sleeping Giants, which lobbies to rid social media platforms of harmful content and accounts, has been among those calling for Jones to be banned. “Hey @instagram. This man is still on your platform after your parent company @facebook already banned him,” Sleeping Giants tweeted on Tuesday.
It linked to a Media Matters for America story highlighting comments made by Jones on Infowars, in which he suggested that the death of a Sandy Hook victim’s father could be a distraction from the “good news” of US President Donald Trump being cleared of colluding with Russia.