Defamation: Sandy Hook parents sue radio host for claiming shooting was staged

Families of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and an FBI agent are suing a conservative radio show host for calling the shooting fake, an event staged by the families. Twenty students and six educators died at the Connecticut school in 2012. Alex Jones has for years called the shooting a hoax and incited his listeners to strike back. In one lawsuit, the families and the FBI agent said they have been “forced to endure malicious and cruel abuse at the hands of ruthless unscrupulous people.” (ABC News, May 23, 2018, by Aaron Katersky)

Elizabeth Williamson in The New York Times, May 23, 2018, writes, “the families are seeking society’s verdict on ‘post truth’ culture in which widely disseminated lies damage lives and destroy reputations, yet those who spread them are seldom held accountable.” Jones capitalizes on conspiracy theories and false claims on his InfoWars website and claims to make it safe for everyone to speak out following President Donald Trump’s example. Jones claimed he was protected by the First Amendment, but the lawsuits say “demonstrably false, malicious statements” are not protected.