The world’s craziest right-winged nut conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, was strong-armed into apologizing for his role in Pizzagate Friday. Under threat of a lawsuit by D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong’s owner James Alefantis, Jones came close enough to saying he was sorry to avoid being sued. The official statement from InfoWars says:
In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him. We were participating in a discussion that was being written about by scores of media outlets, in one of the most hotly contested and disputed political environments our country has ever seen. We relied on third party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. We also relied on accounts of reporters who are no longer with us. This was an ever-evolving story, which had a huge amount of commentary about it across many media outlets.
As I have said before, what became a heightened focus on Mr. Alefantis and Comet Ping Pong by many media outlets was not appropriate. To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis, nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking as was part of the theories about Pizzagate that were being written about in many media outlets and which we commented upon…
Or another way of saying, “Sorry not sorry, please don’t sue me! I just repeated what I heard from lots of other people!”
This is one of only two “corrections” on InfoWars’ site. The Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi explains the likely reason for the rare apology from Jones:
Under Texas law, the Austin-based Jones had to retract or apologize for the stories by Friday — one full month after receiving Alefantis’s letter — to avoid exposing InfoWars to punitive damages in a libel suit.
Alex Jones is also known for his theories that 9.11 was an inside job by the government; Sandy Hook was a hoax to justify taking away Second Amendment rights; and President Obama was planning to put people in concentration camps. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, approximately two million people listen to Jones’ show each week.
Also on Friday, the North Carolina man who fired a rifle inside the pizzeria, plead guilty to assault and interstate transportation of a firearm. Edgar Welch will be sentenced in June for what he claims was an attempt to investigate Pizzagate based on what he heard on Jones’ show. (NYT)
The Pizzagate story was a prime example of how fake news spread during the election. So many people will believe anything as long as it fits their preconceived bias, no matter what the authorities say or how many times it is debunked and by whom. Even after Jones’ statement, there are those who feel even more strongly this story is real. A man’s life’s work has been devastated by this. Mr. Alefantis told The New York Times:
Honestly I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. These lies and falsehoods spread about me and my restaurant exist all over the place. The damage that has been done to my company and business and my community, all will remain forever.
I know at least two million people who could use a big dose of common sense. Bless their hearts.