Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ambushed Sen. Marco Rubio as he was being interviewed by reporters outside a Capitol Hill hearing room Wednesday, heckling the Florida Republican until Rubio warned Jones that if he refused to back off, “I’ll take care of you myself.”
The confrontation happened outside a hearing at which Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey testified on their companies’ efforts to combat the use of fake social media accounts by Russia and other foreign powers to interfere in U.S. elections.
Jones has accused the tech giants of censoring conservative voices after they suspended his conspiracy theory website Infowars last month. He made an unexpected appearance in the front row of the audience at Wednesday’s hearing and was also seen milling about the hallways outside the room, yelling about anti-conservative bias and declaring that he had come to “face my accusers.”
Cassandra Fairbanks, a contributor to the far-right website Gateway Pundit, witnessed the four-minute episode involving Jones and Rubio and posted video of it on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
In the video, Jones is seen talking over Rubio and the reporters trying to interview him in a hallway outside the hearing room, taunting the senator and trying to elicit an answer from him on the tech companies’ treatment of him.
“Is that a heckler at a press gaggle?” Rubio says at one point. “I just don’t know who you are, man. I don’t really read your website.”
Soon after, Jones appears to touch Rubio’s shoulder as he is speaking. Rubio turns to face Jones directly.
“Hey, don’t touch me again, man,” Rubio says. “I’m asking you not to touch me.”
Jones contends he had just patted Rubio “nicely” and says, “Oh, you want me to get arrested.”
“You’re not going to get arrested,” Rubio replies. “I’ll take care of you myself.”
Jones continues to mock Rubio, calling him a “frat boy” at one point and declaring at another, “You are literally like a little gangster thug.”
As the interview wraps up, Rubio tells the assembled throng of reporters, “You guys can talk to this clown.”
Jones continues to hurl insults as Rubio walks down the hall, calling out behind him, “Go back to your bathhouse.”
Jones has prompted sharp criticism, as well as a defamation lawsuit, for claiming that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax. He is also being sued by a man who Jones’s Infowars website falsely claimed was the gunman behind last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.