Days after an armed gunman went to Washington, D.C’s Comet Ping-Pong pizzeria in a self-described attempt to investigate the false “pizzagate” conspiracy, radio host Alex Jones attempted to distance himself from the story, which he and his website Infowars have promoted -- while also adding more to the strange theory.
Jones, who runs the website Infowars, has played a key role in popularizing the erroneous notion that the pizzeria is a child-trafficking hub. The Washington Post reported, “On the far-right site Infowars, talk-show host Alex Jones repeatedly suggested that Clinton was involved in a child sex ring and that her campaign chairman, John Podesta, indulged in satanic rituals.” Vox noted that Jones “is more responsible than any other single person for the spread of “Pizzagate” — the totally false theory that DC pizza joint Comet Ping Pong is a front for a child sex ring involving Hillary and Bill Clinton.”
But on his December 7 show, Jones distanced himself from the allegations. He claimed that the multiple news outlets that highlighted his role in the story were telling a “lie” and defended his own comments by suggesting he was simply sharing the information, noting that “everybody else covered it too.” But the coverage of the conspiracy percolated between Jones’ Infowars and online forums like Reddit and 4Chan.
Yet despite his attempt at creating distance between himself and the armed shooter, Jones then baselessly speculated that there were “questionable events” surrounding the incident and that “witnesses say no shots fired but the news says there is and it’s an admitted actor.” He described the incident as “classic scripting” and compared it to “fake events” and “fake videos for the campaign with Hillary” with “actors in ‘em.”
A pizzeria in Brooklyn has also begun to receive death threats over the “pizzagate” conspiracy. Police say a worker who answered the phone at Roberta's pizzeria was told “you are going to bleed and be tortured,” and other callers have asked if the restaurant is connected to the fictitious child sex ring promoted by Jones and others.
Echoing the real-world consequences of the “pizzagate” conspiracy, a Florida woman has been indicted for allegedly making threats against the parents of a 6-year-old who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the 2012 mass shooting. CBS Miami reports that the FBI said the woman, Lucy Richards, “believed the event didn’t happen, … which motivated her to make a series of death threats against the victim.” While there is currently no evidence that Richards was inspired by Jones, Jones has repeatedly used his platform to push Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.
On the same episode of his program, Jones also claimed he has been unfairly accused of saying the Sandy Hook school shooting was a faked event and said, “I said that’s what people have said.” But as he did with the pizzeria story, Jones then pushed more conspiracy elements. He accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of being affiliated with the CIA and said he “got caught in a blue/green screen with his nose disappearing” while reporting on the shooting. Without evidence, Jones said, “They got caught doing fake satellite interviews.”
Alex Jones has claimed the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies in Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and at the Boston Marathon, along with pushing other unsupported conspiracy theories. Throughout the past year he has partnered with Donald Trump to bolster his candidacy. The president-elect has frequently echoed Jones' theories and rhetoric, and he appeared on Jones’ program to praise his “amazing” reputation.
From the December 7 edition of Genesis Communications Networks’ The Alex Jones Show:
ALEX JONES (HOST): Oh no, Bill Clinton’s not mafia, he didn’t steal 94 percent of the money from Haiti. Billions. Oh no, he didn’t fly on Jerry Epstein’s plane with the pedophiles. Oh no, it’s not in the FBI manuals that they call child pornography “cheese pizza.”
But see how they lie, they go, “Alex Jones created a whole fiction and a lie about Podesta and sex and satanism and blamed some pizza place called Comet Ping-Pong and said some weird hallucination about pizza.”
We covered WikiLeaks that had a code about pizzas in New York that’s in the FBI files, said I don’t know what that is but they say it’s this -- it could also be about drugs, it should be investigated. Everybody else covered it too. But that doesn’t matter.
Then they use linguistics and words to go, oh, there’s a pizza place listed here, somebody mentioned it on Reddit, let’s say it’s all about this one pizza place to only limit it to that one area, put all the focus there, make them victims, have some very questionable events where witnesses say no shots fired but the news says there is and it’s an admitted actor. Who’s been in trouble with the law. I mean, the whole thing is classic scripting. I’m not saying it’s scripted -- it has all the telltale signs, they’ve been caught doing it before, they did all those fake videos for the campaign with Hillary. With fake actors in ‘em. This is what they do.
They always say I said nobody died at Sandy Hook and the whole thing’s fake. I said that’s what people have said. All I know is, Anderson Cooper – CIA – got caught in a blue-slash-green screen with his nose disappearing. They got caught doing fake satellite interviews, where one’s in New York, one’s in Connecticut, and it’s the same cars driving behind ‘em. That’s how dumb they think you are. I don’t know how fake it is, but you’re a pack of known liars.