Yesterday, the parents of two of the victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary filed a lawsuit against Alex Jones. In it, the plaintiffs claimed that the Infowars host repeated lies about them and the fate of their children. And those lies, they say, have led to both grave emotional distress and a number of death threats. Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed in the shooting, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, who also lost their son, filed their respective suits in Austin on Monday. Both suits are seeking more than a million dollars in damages.
“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 for Heslin, Pozner, and De La Rosa, 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.”
Along with selling snake oil dietary products, Jones has made a career of peddling dangerous and absurd conspiracy theories to his audience, including the idea that several mass shootings were secretly staged. Why? According to Jones, the government manufactures these events in order to ramp up support for gun control. Jones has repeatedly implied ⏤ and even outright stated ⏤ that the shooting in Newtown and the deaths of 20 children was not real. He even went so far as to suggest that the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook were crisis actors.
In addition to just being cruel to grieving parents, Jones’ relentless accusations have led complete strangers to attack Heslin, Pozner, and De La Rosa in life-threatening ways. Last June, Lucy Richards, a 57-year-old woman from Florida and a fan of Infowars, was sentenced to five months in prison for sending threatening messages to Pozner because she believed he was lying about his child’s death. As a part of her sentence, the judge ruled that Richards can no longer access Infowars, which was determined to play a contributing motivator for her atrocious actions.
“You gonna die,” Richards said to Pozner in a voicemail. “Death is coming to you real soon.”
With this lawsuit, Heslin, Pozner, and De La Rosa are hoping to force Jones to stop his blatant and insidious lying. And, in the process, bring some semblance of peace to their lives as they continue to deal with every parent’s worst nightmare.