Setting what might be a new land-speed record for a brand shifting from “We’re committed to representing a diversity of viewpoints, even shitty ones” to “Jesus Christ, okay, calm down, it’s gone,” video on demand purveyor Roku has now pulled Alex Jones’ InfoWars channel from its Channel Store. The news comes just a handful of days after Jones and his cadre of high-volume, low-fact exiles (previously booted from Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and even eventually Twitter) landed on the platform, and just hours after the company issued a statement defending its willingness to give anybody—even screaming tomato men accusing the parents of murdered kids of trying to profit off of their children’s deaths—a genteel soap box from which to speak.
The backlash against InfoWars’ presence on the platform—which operates by offering free and premium “channels” of content to users of Roku’s digital media hardware—was as swift as a kid gleefully dubbing one of the show’s correspondents “a fucking idiot.” The company held its ground for a whole long afternoon, though, noting that “While the vast majority of all streaming on our platform is mainstream entertainment, voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel. We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint.” People were quick to point out the same things they wearily point out every time Jones’ show lands on a platform that’s ostensibly trying to limit its hosting of hate speech, though, i.e., that InfoWars the show is frequently anti-Muslim and xenophobic, and that Jones’ (now legally endangered) allegations against the families of kids killed in the Sandy Hook shootings have forced grieving parents to flee their homes because of death threats.
Apparently realizing the exact depth and unpleasantly fecal warmth of the issue it’d found itself stepping in, Roku issued a second statement later this evening, abruptly changing course: “After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform,” said Roku spokesman Eric Savitz, who we can only assume is the company’s vice president in charge of no shit, Sherlock. “Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.”