The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead caused a nation to go into mourning. But Alex Jones, known conspiracy theorist and founder of fake news site Infowars.com, instead declared the whole thing a “hoax” designed to attack Second Amendment rights, NBC News reports.
Neil Heslin, parent to 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, parents to 6-year-old Noah Pozner filed two lawsuits in Austin, Texas on Monday, NBC News reports, seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Jones has repeatedly claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged, calling it a “giant hoax,” Politifact reports. Jones has also accused news organizations of using green screen during segments reporting on the Sandy Hook shooting, according to The New York Times.
“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,” Jones said in 2014, according to Media Matters.
Jones has not responded to The New York Times with comments.
Infowars reporter Owen Shroyer is also named in one of the suits. Neil Heslin appeared on “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” last year to talk about the shooting, remembering how he “held [his] son with a bullet hole through his head.” Owen Shroyer, in an InfoWars segment, said that Heslin lied, arguing that the medical examiner had had the victims identified through photographs, not in person, The New York Times reports.
“Will there be a clarification from Heslin or Megyn Kelly? I wouldn’t hold your breath,” said Shroyer.
In his suit, Heslin called Shroyer’s claim “manifestly false,” and explained that the victim’s bodies were handed over to their families for their funerals.
The parents behind the suits say that Jones’ lies have resulted in death threats. Lucy Richards, 57, was sentenced to five months in prison after sending death threats to Pozner.
“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 suits for 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.”
“Anyone, parents or not, who spends 15 minutes talking to one of these parents will understand immediately how vile this lie was, and how genuine their pain is,” Bankston added. Damages are being sought from from Jones, Infowars and a related company, Free Speech Systems LLC.
This isn’t the only suit filed against Jones recently. Brennan Gilmore, the man who recorded the deadly vehicular attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, sued Jones for defamation after Jones called him a “deep state shill” and “CIA asset.” Earlier this month, The New York Times reports that Jones was sued for defamation by a man Infowars falsely identified as the Parkland shooter.
(Photo: Neil Heslin, father of six-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, holds a picture of him and his son as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 27, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. By Alex Wong/Getty Images)