Family members of the Aurora theater shooting victims are upset with NBC anchor Megyn Kelly’s decision to interview Alex Jones, a man who claims the U.S. government staged the shooting.
“I don’t think there’s any place for his message on that channel … ,” said Tom Sullivan, who lost his son in the 2012 massacre. “He’s said I’m an actor; that my son was an actor. Other families that I personally know were actors and a part of some kind of government agenda.”
Jones runs a website called Info Wars that peddles various conspiracy theories. He’s accused the government of orchestrating the attacks on 9/11 as well as the Sandy Hook school shooting.
After the Aurora shooting, the website published several posts claiming the shooter was trained and manipulated by the federal government as part of an ongoing effort to roll back the Second Amendment and confiscate guns.
Those posts contain a lot of conjecture -- some of which was roundly debunked during the trial of the theater shooter-- but no hard evidence to support such a claim.
But some of Jones' followers believe the theories, including the idea that the victims didn’t actually die in the shooting.
They have contacted some of the people who lost family members in Aurora.
“We have gotten phone calls where people have asked, ‘Do you know where Alex is tonight?’” Sullivan said. “’I saw Alex,’ they will tell me.”
Lucy Richards pleaded guilty last week to harassing a father whose son died in the Sandy Hook massacre. Richards reportedly wrote a series of death threats to the dad because she believed the shooting was a hoax.
“His message is one of lies and paranoia that is hurtful to all of us who have been affected by mass murder,” said Sandy Phillips, whose daughter died in the Aurora shooting. “He does it solely to enrich himself and not society. She should have interviewed all of us attacked by him and our good works instead of shining a light on a cockroach.”
Kelly defended the interview, and called Jones’ position on the fabricating of mass shootings “personally revolting” in a statement she released on Twitter.
Here is my statement regarding Sunday night’s interview: pic.twitter.com/iS2VfyLt6S— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 13, 2017
"President [Donald] Trump, by praising and citing him, appearing on his show, and giving him White House credentials, has helped elevate Jones, to the alarm of many,” Kelly wrote. “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 has promoted with near impunity."
Sullivan understands Kelly’s position, but he still wishes Jones wasn’t getting airtime on a major news network. Jones, apparently, agrees with Sullivan.
He released a statement Tuesday calling for Kelly and NBC to “shelve” the interview. Jones accused Kelly of lying about the reasons for requesting an interview and misrepresenting his views on Sandy Hook.
The interview is scheduled to air Sunday at 6 p.m. Denver time on NBC and Channel 9.