In a pair of defamation lawsuits filed Monday in Austin, Texas, the parents of two children who were killed during the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School claim that false allegations made by conspiracy entrepreneur Alex Jones have led to death threats against them. Each lawsuit is seeking more than US$1 million in damages from Jones, his Infowars company, and a related company, Free Speech Systems LLC. An Infowars reporter, Owen Shroyer, is also named in one of the suits.
Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed in the shooting, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah was the youngest victim at Sandy Hook, have been hounded by conspiracy theorists, who have taken their cue from Jones.
The grieving parents have had to endure claims that their children never lived in the first place, that they were not murdered, and that they and their parents were merely “crisis actors” playing roles in a bizarre staged drama at the school.
“This case arises out of accusations by InfoWars in the summer of 2017 that plaintiff was lying about whether he actually held his son’s body and observed a bullet hole in his head,” Heslin said in his complaint. “This heartless and vile act of defamation re-ignited the Sandy Hook ’false flag’ conspiracy and tore open the emotional wounds that plaintiff has tried so desperately to heal.”
“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 lawyer handling the cases for the parents, told [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.”
Noting on Twitter that Jones would probably respond to the lawsuits by lying about what he has previously said about Sandy Hook, Timothy Johnson, a research fellow and the guns and public safety program director at Media Matters, outlines what Jones has actually said about the Sandy Hook killings:
In March 2014, Jones said, “I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”
In December 2014, Jones said on his radio program, “The whole thing is a giant hoax.”
Jones continued: “The general public doesn’t know the school was actually closed the year before. They don’t know they’ve sealed it all, demolished the building. They don’t know that they had the kids going in circles in and out of the building as a photo-op. Blue screen, green screens, they got caught using.”
Making it clear he didn’t view the occurrence of the shooting as an open question, Jones explicitly said that the Obama administration was behind the shooting, noting, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”
Does Jones really believe what he spews?
As we have stated in the past, there is good reason to believe that Jones is merely playing a role on his Infowars show.
During last year’s custody battle with his estranged wife Kelly, Jones’ lawyer Randall Wilhite told the court that Jones is simply “playing a character” when he goes on air and tells his followers that the mass murder of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook was “faked with actors”.
Somehow, this makes his actions worse. If it could be shown that Jones truly believed the conspiranoid gibberish he spouts, one might at least be able to say that he is acting in good faith, based on his delusional beliefs.
But knowing that Jones is just playing a role—that he doesn’t believe what he says, but says it because it keeps the dollars flowing into his pockets—makes it impossible to see him for anything other than what he is: a cynical liar and master manipulator, selling his legions of gullible followers falsehood after falsehood.
We hope the Sandy Hook parents take him to the cleaners.