Owen Shroyer Ghosted Me

I’ve written about Owen Shroyer and mostly I’ve made fun of him.

He makes mocking him easy. When he was owned by a teenage girl and struck dumb by a tearful Alex Jones tirade, he turned himself into an easy target. When Sandy Hook parents sued him for defamation after he spread conspiracy theories about the shooting, making him a punching bag wasn’t only easy, it seemed like a moral imperative.

But in learning more about him and his rise through the Infowars ranks, I’ve grown curious about him. I wanted to get a fuller picture of what it’s like being Owen Shroyer. And to do that, I need to speak with him.

When I reached out to Shroyer for an interview, I didn’t expect him to reply. But reply he did. The real surprise came when he stopped writing back before the interview happened.

I contacted Shroyer through Infowars with my expectations tempered. It wouldn’t be hard for Shroyer to find my stories on him or uncover my general liberal leanings. The odds that he’d want to talk with someone who’s openly clowned him were pretty slim. Still, I presented myself as professionally as possible and sent him a straightforward interview request.

A week passed and I assumed I’d never hear from him. But one morning, something unexpected appeared in my inbox. Shroyer had responded—a one-sentence reply telling me he’d gotten word of the request. After confirming I was still interested, he asked what I had in mind. But after I gave an overview of my questions, Shroyer stopped responding.

A quick Google search provides enough details to roughly sketch the broad strokes of Shroyer’s career. He grew up in St. Louis, Mo. and studied psychology and media at Missouri University. Covering the Boston Marathon bombing in 2011 brought him far right—his opinions on terrorism, immigration and other issues became radical. Through self-produced podcasts and YouTube videos centered around Clinton conspiracy theories and hard right rhetoric, he gained an alt-right following. He parlayed that success into a contributor position with InfoWars before being hired and earning his own show on the site. After watching his show I described him as “[Alex] Jones-lite, focusing his energy on #MAGA-patriotism, exposing deep state conspiracies and poking fun at liberal snowflakes.”

That pithy description doesn’t do him justice, though. He’s risen through the ranks and become an alt-right icon with enormous reach and influence. I want to hear from him, directly, about how he got here, what his relationship with Jones is like and why he believes what he does. I don’t like most of the things he stands for, and I can’t promise complete objectivity in an interview. But I can promise it will be straightforward and fair.

I don’t blame Shroyer for going dark on me. InfoWars is in turmoil. After getting targeted by lawsuits, it was banned by social media and shut out of major digital marketplaces. Now that he has a legitimate claim on being a victim of censorship, I’m even more interested in speaking with Shroyer. I wrote this story in part to lay all my cards on the table in hopes of clarifying my intentions and convincing him of my sincere interest in interviewing him.

I still hold out hopes that we can have a conversation. Until then, maybe he can put in a good word on my job application.