Kooky conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is being sued by parents of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
Jones, along with a handful of other ‘alternative truthers,’ claims that Sandy Hook is a “giant hoax.” The right-wing radio host says the massacre was “completely fake” – a liberal ploy to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights.
According to the New York Times, Jones, who operates Infowars, has ‘questioned for years’ whether 20 children and six adults really died in Newtown, CT. In an attempt to bolster his credibility, Jones has circulated news clips and reports, all of which were either ‘incomplete’ or based on false information.
Soon after they buried their children, writes the Times, some Sandy Hook parents were besieged by conservative conspiracy theories. Like Jones, the ‘truthers’ charge that nobody really died in 2012. On top of alleging that the shooting was a work of liberal fiction, they’ve accused survivors and victims’ loved ones of being paid actors.
Two suits were filed against Jones on Tuesday.
One was brought by Leonard Pozner and his former wife, Veronica De La Rosa; the other was filed by Neil Heslin. Both sets of plaintiffs lost 6-year old children at Sandy Hook.
The suits, says the Times, focus on a series of comments made by Jones in 2017. In a radio segment entitled “Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed,” Jones attempted to analyze an interview between CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Veronica De La Rosa.
For a brief moment in the footage, Cooper’s nose appears to disappear. That, says Jones, is abundant evidence of doctored footage, proposing that the interview actually took place in an indoor studio.
“When he turns,” said Jones, “his nose disappears repeatedly because the green screen isn’t set right.”
The New York Times notes that Cooper’s vanishing nose is the result of a common video encoding glitch called a compression artifact. But that’s hardly enough to persuade Jones, who also believes that the government puts ‘chemicals’ in ‘the water’ to make Americans homosexual – the wily conservative has suggested that leakage has turned frogs gay, too.
Despite De La Rosa and Heslin’s impending lawsuits, Jones is confident that his claims are protected forms of free speech.
“It is every American’s right to question any big event, especially when it’s seized on to take the basic liberties of Americans,” said Jones, referring to a supposed liberal conspiracy against the Second Amendment.
Among the defamatory comments highlighted by Heslin and De La Rosa are several made by Infowars employee Owen Shroyer.
Reviewing an interview between Heslin and NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Shroyer said the parent lied about holding his “dying son,” citing accounts that a medical examiner asked loved ones to identify the deceased with photographs.
“Will there be clarification from Heslin or Megyn Kelly?” asked Shroyer. “I wouldn’t hold your breath.”
On Tuesday, Jones published a rambling, contradictory statement on his website. While he seemed to accept that Sandy Hook ‘happened,’ he reaffirmed his belief that victims and survivors are willingly or unwittingly being roped into a plot against firearms.
“I’ve been telling the parents for years I believe their children died, and quite frankly, they know that,” he said. “I’m sorry they died, but I didn’t kill them and gun owners in American [sic] did not kill your children.”
“I believe Sandy Hook happened.”