Sandy Hook Parents Are Standing Up To Alex Jones — With A Lawsuit

The parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting are suing the conspiracy theorist.

Three parents of children who were killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are suing Alex Jones, the founder of InfoWars, along with one of his contributors, for various claims Jones has made about the authenticity of the shooting and the role the parents played in it. 

Two of the plaintiffs, Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner, lost their 6-year-old son Noah Pozner in the shooting. Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jessie Heslin was killed in the shooting, is the third plaintiff.

In the last six years, Jones has repeatedly challenged the idea that 20 children and six adults were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. At different times, he has called the shooting "completely fake" or a "giant hoax," concocted to help limit the Second Amendment right to own a firearm.  

He has used his show on InfoWars to claim parents were "crisis actors," has had a contributor come on air to claim a Sandy Hook parent never held their dead child and repeatedly claimed the parents were part of a "coverup." As a result, Pozner and other Sandy Hook parents have allegedly received death threats and internet abuse from conspiracy theorists. In 2017, a woman from Florida was sentenced to five months in jail and five months of home confinement for threats against Pozner.

"The statements were a continuation and elaboration of a years-long campaign to falsely attack the honesty of the Sandy Hook parents, casting them as participants in a ghastly conspiracy and cover-up," the parents' lawsuits said.

The parents' lawyer,  Farrar & Ball attorney Mark Bankston, told Gizmodo he believes these are the first such lawsuits filed by a mass shooter against Jones, despite the fact Jones has been spreading conspiracies about similar incidents for years. 

One of the cruxes of Jones' conspiracies revolves around a 2017 claim, made on a YouTube episode of his show titled "Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed," that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and De La Rosa conducted an interview in front of a green screen, not in Newtown, Conn. Jones' made the claim based on moments in the video where Cooper turns to face De La Rosa and his nose disappears. But the visual glitch is a common error in video recording known as a compression artifact, The New York Times reports. The lawsuit alleges that information about compression artifacts was readily available at the time Jones made his claims that the visual effect was happening because a green screen wasn't functioning properly.

The parents, the first of their kind to take a legal stand against Jones, are seeking damages "in excess of $1,000,000" for malicious harm to their emotional states and reputations, Gizmodo reported. Jones is facing separate lawsuits for workplace harassment, copyright infringement, and his number one revenue source — a diet supplement whose effectiveness is in serious doubt — has been criticized as ineffective and overpriced.

Since the shooting, Sandy Hook parents have become vocal proponents of preventing gun violence. Most notably, Sandy Hook Promise — a nonprofit founded by family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook shooting — has pushed legislation to reform gun laws and distributed information about spotting the signs of a mass shooter. More than 2.5 million people have signed a pledge on the Sandy Hook Promise website that reads "I promise to do all I can to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities." Over 3.5 million educators, parents and students have been trained in their educational program.

Since the lawsuits have been filed, Jones appears to have adopted a different tone than he had on his 2017 show. 

"I've been telling the parents for years I believe their children died, and quite frankly, they know that," he said in a video posted on Tuesday. "I'm sorry they died, but I didn't kill them and gun owners in American did not kill your children... I believe Sandy Hook happened."

Cover photo: Belltreephotography /  Shutterstock.com.

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.