Alex Jones is a far right conspiracy theorist who runs the website “Infowars”. He believes that 9-11 was an inside job and, most abhorrently, that the Sandy Hook and Aurora tragedies were hoaxes created by the government to steal Americans’ guns.
Alex Jones is not the first conspirator to make tragedy conspiracies, but he is the first to gain national attention. Megyn Kelly, formerly a news anchor on Fox, is set to air an interview with the controversial figure on June 18th on NBC, officially bringing him from the fringe of politics to center-stage.
Many fear this interview will attempt to humanize the man and give undue weight to his claims that the 20 children and 6 educators of Sandy Hook never existed. Megyn Kelly will also be interviewing one parent of a Sandy Hook victim in the special. Though the interview has yet to air, it is already drowning in controversy.
NBC Connecticut is refusing to air the interview. "Over the last few days, we have listened intently to Sandy Hook parents [and] considered the deep emotions from the wounds of that day that have yet to heal," the station's general manager and president Susan Tully said in a memo released by “The Hartford Courant”. Instead, Connecticut viewers will be able to watch online or watch a report on the interview at 11pm ET Sunday.
Megyn Kelly was replaced as the host of a gala fundraiser for Sandy Hook Promise on June 14th as a result of the interview. Nicole Hockley, co-Founder and Managing Director of the organization said, “Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones and have asked Megyn Kelly to step down as our Promise Champion Gala host. It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
In response, Kelly released a statement, saying, “I understand and respect the decision of the event organizers but I am of course disappointed that I won’t be there to support them. I find Alex Jones’s suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does. Our goal in sitting down with him was to shine a light – as journalists are supposed to do – on this influential figure, and yes – to discuss the considerable falsehoods he as promoted with new impunity.”
NBC has a lost an advertiser over the controversy. JPMorgan Chase has asked that local and digital ads be removed from all NBC News programming until after Sunday’s show airs, according to WSJ reports. The company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kristin Lemkau, said in a tweet Monday night, “As an advertiser, I'm repulsed that @megynkelly would give a second of airtime to someone who says Sandy Hook and Aurora are hoaxes. Why?”
Alex Jones himself attempted to scoop his own interview with Megyn Kelly by releasing recordings of their conversations leading up to and including the interview on his website, InfoWars. In the recordings, Kelly can be heard saying “My goal is for your listeners and the left — you know, who will be watching some on NBC — to say, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting,’. It’s not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that. All I can do is give you my word and tell you if there is one thing about me I do what I say I’m going to do and I don’t double-cross.” She adds, “Of course I’m going to do a fair interview I’m still me – I’m not going to go out there and be Barbara Walters.” Jones is now claiming that Kelly lied about the nature of the interview, adding to an already chaotic week for NBC.
Sandy Hook Promise, an organization created by the parents of Sandy Hook victims and dedicated to saving children from gun violence, has created a petition to prevent NBC from airing the interview. In their statement, the organization says, “We cannot support giving such a dangerous person a national platform to lie about tragedies and wave away the real threat of gun violence.”
To sign the petition titled “Tell NBC: Don’t Promote Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones” visit Sandy Hook Promise HERE.