The man Austinites love to hate, political extremist and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, went viral on Wednesday when a video of him ranting at Barton Creek greenbelt lifeguards over the weekend was posted and viewed more than 3 million (and counting) times on Twitter.
The video shows him, mini-bullhorn in hand, claiming the coronavirus is a hoax and calling the youthful lifeguards who were checking reservations "cult-member kooks."
The video was posted originally by local filmmaker Scott Cobb on Twitter on Monday but gained traction after D.C. national security lawyer Bradley Moss posted the video to his 187k followers on Twitter.
It is unclear from the postings who shot the video, which is dated Aug. 9 in a YouTube version voiced over by an Infowars commentator and labeled "banned video." The video showed up on YouTube inverted, though the Twitter version is correct.
Jones rarely goes anywhere without a camera in tow, however, and several people commented that the video was his. (We'll update if we find out otherwise.)
After it went viral, Cobb posted a link to help support lifeguards.
"Would you like to help Austin lifeguards? Email Austin City Council and urge them to start paying lifeguards extra holiday pay when they are required to work on holidays like July 4," the Tweet read.
In the video, Jones is angry about the greenbelt asking for reservations, calling the coronavirus a hoax and the required reservation the parks require to be "illegal activity." The area has been enforcing reservations as a way to encourage social distancing.
Austin police are summoned—it's unclear by whom—and wave visitors into the park who Jones says were without reservations, although the exact conversation between the police and visitors can't be heard.
The police also leave Jones to his rantings, which are largely ignored by the dozen or so masked people nearby (one of whom shoots the middle finger at the camera operator).
At the end of the video, Alex peers closely into the camera and demands that Austin be taken back from the "power grab."
"It's constitutional. This is not even a city ordinance. This is an illegal power grab of the people's greenbelt, and it's time to free Austin," a red-faced Jones screamed into the megaphone at the sparse crowd.
The video is trending at number one on Twitter for the U.S. at the time of this post, and is receiving intense backlash online.
Alex Jones is a sad and lonely man. https://t.co/P8ZvRpIJYA— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1597238751.0
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