Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $965M to Sandy Hook Families

A Connecticut jury decided on Wednesday that Infowars founder Alex Jones should pay $965M to individuals who suffered from his claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $965M to Sandy Hook Families
Image credit: AP [via PBS]

Facts

  • A Connecticut jury decided on Wednesday that Infowars founder Alex Jones should pay $965M to individuals who suffered from his claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.
  • Jones's trial lasted three weeks and included testimony from the parents of victims, school employees, and an FBI agent who responded to the shooting. The case itself was a consolidation of three separate suits.
  • Jones was prosecuted for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and infringements of Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act for his claim that the mass shooting was staged.
  • This case is the largest defamation suit damages figure in US history, eclipsing a 1997 suit in which a brokerage company sued the Wall Street Journal and won $222.7M. Over the summer, Jones filed for bankruptcy via his main company, Free Speech Systems.
  • The decision comes two months after a different jury in Texas decided that Jones and his company should pay two Sandy Hook parents almost $50M. That judge will assess whether to lower the punitive damages sought under Texas law this month.
  • Six adults and 20 children were killed during the shooting in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. For years after, Jones claimed that the shooting had been staged and the families were "crisis actors."

Sources: PBS NewsHour, Daily Wire, NBC, Daily Mail, CNN, and FOX News.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Daily Kos. Not only did Jones flagrantly disrespect the families of the children who died at Sandy Hook, but he also profited from it. After almost ten years, justice has been served, as Jones will likely lose his media empire, which is a dangerous hotbed of conspiracy theories and disinformation. Hopefully, this trial will set a precedent that individuals can't spout vitriolic nonsense that harms victims of tragic events for political and financial gain.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by InfoWars. This is a sad day for freedom of speech in the US. The American political elite doesn't want the public asking questions, especially regarding things that may counter the dominant narrative around gun control and other civil liberties. Like him or hate him, Jones has a right to freedom of speech and to explore the political class's anti-American narratives.

Predictions