The families of six victims of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School along with an FBI agent who was among the first to respond to the shooting sued InfoWars’ founder Alex Jones and several of his businesses on Wednesday, alleging the radio personality had defamed them by repeatedly claiming that the shooting was a hoax.
The new lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, comes on the heels of two defamation suits filed in Texas last month by two other Sandy Hook families.
Jones, who could not be reached for comment, responded to the Texas lawsuits on his show last month, acknowledging that he believes the massacre “really happened,” but that the families were being used by the Democratic Party.
The complaints from all eight families allege that Jones used his internet and radio platforms to push the conspiracy theory that the shooting, in which a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, was a staged event. The lawsuits claim that Jones’ false narratives have brought him attention and money, while the families have suffered deep personal pain as well as abuse from fans of Jones.
“Jones’s actions subjected the families and survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting to physical confrontations and harassment, death threats and personal attacks on social media,” the families’ attorney said in a statement provided to NBC News. “Alex Jones and his co-conspirators engineered and maintained this campaign for a simple reason: greed.”
Jones is the personality behind InfoWars, a radio, website and internet empire that has been widely criticized for pushing conspiracy theories alongside medically dubious dietary supplements and supplies for doomsday preppers.
In recent years, Jones has suggested the attacks on Sept. 11 were an “inside job” and that bombings at Oklahoma City and the Boston Marathon were staged by actors. He has also claimed that vaccines and “chemtrails” are part of a government plot to injure Americans, and that the government puts fluoride in water to turn the population gay and kill them.
Jones has faced a number of legal challenges this year. In April, a Massachusetts man sued Jones for $1 million, alleging that Jones had falsely identified him as the gunman who killed 17 people in a school shooting in February in Parkland, Florida. In March, a Virginia man who filmed a deadly car attack last summer at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, sued Jones, alleging that Jones had falsely labeled him a CIA operative and publicly accused him of staging the attack.
Earlier in March, Jones’s YouTube channel was close to being deleted, after receiving two strikes from Google for publishing videos that portrayed the student survivors of the Parkland shooting as actors.
In March, Jones issued an uncharacteristic correction of sorts, distancing himself from Pizzagate, the disproven theory that a politically connected child-sex ring was being run out of a pizza parlor in Washington. The owner of the restaurant had sent Jones a letter demanding an apology and a retraction, noting that Jones and his website had “defamed” him by pushing the conspiracy.
Despite Jones’s fringe beliefs, millions of people visit Infowars’ website each month and his YouTube channel boasts 2.3 million subscribers. In December 2015, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on Jones’ internet program.
“Your reputation is amazing,” Trump told Jones. “I will not let you down.”