Parents Of Sandy Hook School Shooting Victims Sue InfoWars’ Alex Jones For Defamation
Three parents of victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 have filed suit against ultra-conservative radio host Alex Jones for defamation.
Alex Jones Sued By Sandy Hook School Parents For Defamation
Jones, the host of Infowars, is renown for having made dozens of conspiracy theories about major events. One of his many claims is that the Newtown shooting — where 20 children and six adults were killed — was fake and simply a “giant hoax” with “actors” that was orchestrated by liberals to push for stricter gun control during the Barack Obama era. Jones has cited several news reports and videos about the tragedy that he claims are inconsistent or inaccurate.
Just days after the massacre, several parents from Sandy Hook began facing threats from right-wing conspiracy theorists who accused them of being part of a great plot to challenge the Second Amendment.
“Even after these folks had to experience this trauma, for the next five years they were tormented by Alex Jones with vicious lies about them,” Mark Bankston, the attorney representing the parents, told The Huffington Post. “And these lies were meant to convince his audience that the Sandy Hook parents are frauds and have perpetrated a sinister lie on the American people.”
In April 2017, Jones aired a piece on his radio show called “Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed.” In the segment, Jones noted an interview Veronique De La Rosa, the mother of one of the dead children, gave CNN’s Anderson Cooper following the tragedy. Jones claimed that interview was doctored to make it look like it was held outdoors instead of in a studio, and also accused Cooper and De La Rosa of both being “actors.” According to the New York Times, the inconsistency in the video was simply a glitch “known as a compression artifact that is common in video encoding.”
Besides De La Rosa, her former husband Leonard Pozner and Neil Heslin also filed lawsuits against Jones.
Bankston is also representing someone in another defamation lawsuit against Jones. Bankston’s client in this case is a man who was misidentified as the shooter who killed 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. Just hours after the Parkland massacre, Infowars released a photo that showed the gunman wearing a shirt covered in images of Communist leaders like Joseph Stalin and Karl Marx. The shirt was reportedly a parody, and the man Infowars accused was not in Florida on the day of the shooting.
Several survivors of the Parkland shooting, committed by Nikolas Cruz, have similarly been threatened and accused of being “crisis actors” in a larger scheme to push for more gun reform.
In June 2017, a woman in Florida who also claimed the Newtown shooting was fake received a five-month prison sentence for issuing death threats to Pozner via emails and phone messages.