The parents of two children murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre have filed two separate defamation lawsuits against conspiracy-peddling troll Alex Jones and his InfoWars network.
Neil Heslin, the father of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, along with Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, are both seeking damages in excess of $1,000,000 in a lawsuit filed on 16 April 2018 in Travis County District Court in Austin, Texas, where InfoWars is based.
InfoWars has made it a mission to paint victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook massacre — in which 20 young children and six adults were killed by a gunman — as actors in a "false flag" attack. As a result, grieving loved ones have been relentlessly stalked, harassed and threatened by "hoaxers" who buy into these narratives, which are easily disprovable and wholly without merit.
According to court documents, Jones and cohost Owen Shroyer have been smearing parents with rants and false commentary that weaves their tragedy into a delusional New World Order conspiracy theory, in which they claim that mass shootings are staged incidents created by a secret, all-powerful cabal in an effort to seize Americans' guns and establish an autocratic global government.
Bill Ogden, an attorney for the parents, told us:
This case has absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment. This case has to do with a media source that touts itself as seeking the truth but makes false claims about people. That’s why we have defamation laws. When you point out specific people and call them liars, and say they didn’t hold their dead children in their arms, there are consequences for that.
An attorney for InfoWars did not respond to our request for comment.
Both lawsuits claim that Jones and InfoWars targeted the parents for harassment by telling their viewers that they were liars engaged in a scheme to cover up a "false flag," or a mass casualty event staged by the government as a pretext for ramped-up repression. InfoWars co-host Shroyer, for example, made an easily-debunked claim that Heslin had been dishonest during a June 2017 interview with NBC host Megyn Kelly when he said he had held his son's bullet-ridden body in his arms, because the victims of the shooting were identified using photographs.
But, obviously, the bodies were later released to families so that they could hold funerals for their loved ones, which the news media covered extensively. According to court documents:
Shroyer's report was manifestly false. In addition, a minimal amount of research would have caused any competent journalist not to publish the defamatory accusation. According to contemporary news accounts, the bodies of the victims were released from the medical examiner into the custody of the families.
Funerals where the children’s bodies were in the custody of their parents were widely reported on by the press.
Jones also claimed an interview De La Rosa did with CNN journalist Anderson Cooper was faked and done on a set, in an effort to label her a "crisis actor":
Mr. Jones' assertion that Plaintiff Veronique De La Rosa participated in a faked blue-screen interview from a remote location is manifestly false. Mr. Jones’ assertion that the interview did not take place in front of the Edmond Town Hall is also manifestly false. The visual effect described by Mr. Jones is the result of motion compensation video compression, which would have been readily ascertainable at the time Mr. Jones made his claims.
Nonetheless, after five years, Mr. Jones continues to push this sick lie about Mrs. De La Rosa and her interview.
Of Heslin, Pozner and De La Rosa, Ogden told us:
Sadly this has gone all the way up through death threats. So not only can these people not grieve in peace, they’re now looking over their shoulders 24/7.
Jones is also being sued by Marcel Fontaine, a 24-year-old Massachusetts man falsely accused by InfoWars of being the gunman in the 14 February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where seventeen people were murdered. The InfoWars post claimed the shooter "dressed like a communist" and that the "MSM" — conspiracy-speak for "mainstream media" were covering it up. The post has since been retracted but still contains a link to another bogus story alleging there was a second shooter in Parkland.
Some who buy into the same conspiracy theory InfoWars traffics have been arrested for taking their conspiratorial thinking into the real world.
In 2015, hoaxer Matthew Mills of New York was arrested at an annual marathon held in honor of Sandy Hook teacher Vikki Soto for stalking and harassing Soto's sister.
Did you hide your imaginary son in the attic? Are you still fucking him? You fucking Jew bastard. Jew bastard. Look behind you. Death is coming to you real soon.
In March 2018, Robert Ussery and Jodi Mann, hoaxers who go by the social media handles Side Thorn and Conspiracy Granny respectively, were arrested for trespassing after verbally assaulting the pastor of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, whose 14-year-old daughter was among 26 people killed in the 5 November 2017 mass shooting there.
In February 2018, three other conspiratorial web sites, GotNews, TheGatewayPundit.com and FreedomDaily.com were also hit with a defamation lawsuit after falsely accusing an innocent person of driving the car that ran down counter-protesters, killing a woman, at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.
A Facebook page run Sandy Hook hoaxers has also been removed by Facebook; it is now being controlled by anti-hoaxers who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.