Anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ordered to pay almost $1bn to Sandy Hook families
Anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host Alex Jones has been ordered to pay $965 million (£869m) to the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Jones has spent the last decade spreading misinformation about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and six adults were killed, claiming it was a “hoax”.
He said the shooting was designed to restrict gun rights and that those involved were “crisis actors”.
On Tuesday (12 October), a Connecticut judge handed down the judgement in a defamation case brought by the families of eight Sandy Hook victims – five children and three educators – as well as one first responder who attended the mass shooting.
Over the course of the three-week trial, the victims’ families testified they had been subject to horrific abuse and harassment, both online and in person, because of Jones’ claims.
One father, Mark Barden, told the court how those who believed Jones’ lies had desecrated his seven-year-old son’s grave by “urinating on it and threatening to dig it up”.
Massacre ‘100 per cent real’, Jones admitted
Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook’s principal who was killed in the mass shooting, said that she received rape threats delivered to her house.
Chris Mattei, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said in his closing arguments: “When every single one of these families were drowning in grief, Alex Jones put his foot right on top of them,” the BBC reported.
The defamation trial follows a similar case in Texas in August, where Jones was ordered to pay $49 million in damages to the family of a six-year-old Sandy Hook victim.
During the Texas trial, Jones admitted that the Sandy Hook massacre was “100 per cent real”, a statement he repeated in Connecticut.
Nevertheless, he mocked the recent trial online, describing the judge as a “tyrant”, and since the judgement has announced that he will appeal.
According to The Guardian, Jones said on his show on the day the judgement was handed down: “This must be what hell’s like – they just read out the damages. Even though you don’t got the money.
“They want to scare everybody away from freedom. They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde and what really happened there or Parkland or any other event.
“We’re not scared, we’re not going away and we’re not going to stop… For hundreds of thousands of dollars, I can keep them in court for years, I can appeal this stuff, we can stand up against this travesty, against the billions of dollars they want.”
Jones has requested that his viewers donate to fund his appeal. He is also set to face a further defamation trial in Texas later this year.
Over the years, Jones has made a series of hateful and outlandish claims about the LGBTQ+ community, from insisting that Barack Obama had sex with 10 men per day, to claiming that lesbians want to eat people’s brains, to saying that chemicals in tap water will turn frogs gay.
The conspiracy theorist also notoriously blamed the 2016 shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse, which killed 49 mostly queer people, on the LGBTQ+ community itself.
Just days after the massacre, Jones accused the LGBTQ+ community of exaggerating violence “so you can sexualise my children and indoctrinate them into your cult”.
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