A B.C. comedian prank-called Alex Jones. Now, Jones has threatened legal action
Video of Chris James's call, in which he pretends to be Tucker Carlson, garners over 26,000 views online
A Vancouver-based comedian has become the target of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's ire after he prank-called the InfoWars founder.
Chris James, who goes by the stage name Prank Stallone, runs the YouTube channel Not Even A Show, where he pranks mostly far-right conservative figures.
Last week, James called Jones and used an AI-generated voice of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. He also made it appear that the call was coming from Carlson's cellphone.
Now, Jones has threatened legal action, and James says he has received a handful of threatening messages online.
'Hey Alex, it's Tucker'
When Jones answered his phone last week, he was met with a seemingly normal greeting.
"Hey Alex, it's Tucker. Do you have a minute to talk?" asked James in the AI-powered voice.
But it quickly got out of hand as the prank took off.
Okay so let’s say someone has Tucker Carlson’s cell number, and also Alex Jones’ cell phone number, and also an AI Tucker Carlson voice. They could IN THEORY call Alex Jones and pretend to be Tucker, and have a full conversation with him. Anyways I just did that.—@theCJS
"I was thinking we could do a show together where we're topless and we suck each other's nipples and sort of play with them a bit," the AI voice said.
"Well, you gotta do it at infowars.com," responded Jones. Shortly after, he appears to catch on and suspect something is amiss.
The prank was posted to James's YouTube channel Monday, where it has been viewed more than 26,000 times.
But it had already kicked up a virtual dust storm after Jones referenced the prank on his self-titled talk show, where he called for James's arrest and warned that Carlson's lawyers are involved.
"Even though you think you're safe up in Canada, you're going to get arrested for what you did," said Jones on his show. "You messed with the wrong people, son."
Jones's reaction to the prank has garnered more than 209,000 views on his website.
Getting 'deranged messages'
In an interview with CBC News, James said he was caught off guard when Jones actually answered the phone. He believes the prank gained attention because of Jones's reaction.
The comedian also says he's been doing these types of pranks for years.
"I wanna go after people who I think are really out there making lives worse for like marginalized people," he said. "I think it's nice sometimes to have those people feel a little bit bad even for a minute or waste their time."
Immediately after the call, James says he messaged Jones to let him know it was a prank. Jones then repeatedly invited James on his show and became livid when James declined.
James says he's not concerned about legal repercussions, but that he has received "some pretty deranged messages," including one on Twitter where someone said they were going to eat his flesh.
CBC News reached out to InfoWars for an interview, but did not receive a response by deadline.
Legal trouble ahead?
Vancouver criminal lawyer Kyla Lee says it's unlikely James will face legal trouble.
While there can be legal ramifications from pranks gone wrong that result in physical injuries, in a civil proceeding Jones would have to prove damages, Lee said.
"For a single phone call where an audience got a bunch of laughs and, you know, Alex Jones was inconvenienced for a few minutes, it's likely not something that would that would result in any injuries," she said.
Prank calls, she says, can also sometimes be seen as harassment.
But in this case, Lee says, she believes it would be a difficult case for a lawyer to argue, as the prank would likely be characterized as art given James is a comedian, and creative expression could be protected.
James says the entire interaction and ensuing reactions have resulted in a traffic uptick on his social media channels.
While that will likely translate to more money this month, he says, he's uncomfortable with the fact that Jones is also benefiting financially from the prank on InfoWars.
"It does make me feel a little bit strange … because he sort of mined it for content," said James.
- Alex Jones ordered to pay another $473M to Sandy Hook families on top of the billion ordered last month
James says he is donating earnings on top of what he normally makes to the GoFundMe page of a Sandy Hook victim's daughter, who is battling lymphoma.
Last year, Jones was ordered to pay the families of Sandy Hook victims more than $1.4 billion US for repeatedly claiming the deadliest school shooting in American history was a hoax.
- A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Alex Jones was ordered to pay the families of Sandy Hook victims more than $4 million US. In fact, he was ordered to pay more than $1.4 billion US.May 10, 2023 7:09 AM PT