HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The families of some Sandy Hook shooting victims are angered by a TV network’s interview with a conspiracy theorist who has claimed the massacre never happened.
Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana Grace, was among the 26 people killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, said Monday that she fears the NBC interview with “Infowars” host Alex Jones will encourage other conspiracy theorists who have harassed her and accused her of being part of a hoax.
“Any time you give someone like Alex Jones a platform, their followers will double-down or increase their attack on grieving families,” Marquez-Greene said. “You can’t just put him in a box and say he’s just a character. He’s really hurting people.”
The interview by Megyn Kelly is scheduled to air Sunday. On Twitter, Kelly responded to criticism by noting that President Donald Trump has praised Jones’ show and by saying it was her job to “shine a light.”
An NBC representative had no immediate comment.
The interview comes in the wake of a guilty plea last week of a Florida woman who threatened a father of one Sandy Hook victim. Lucy Richards, who had cited the hoax theory in her threats, was sentenced to five months in prison.
A year ago, a New York City man was sentenced to probation after approaching a sister of slain Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto during a charity road race and angrily claiming the shootings never took place.
Soto’s family says Matthew Mills was a follower of Alex Jones. They expressed their anger with NBC and Kelly in a Facebook post.
“Alex and his followers have done nothing but make our lives a living hell for the last 4 1/2 years,” they said. “This incessant need for ratings at the cost of the emotional well-being of our family is disgusting and disappointing. You should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this behavior.”
The harassment of Marquez-Greene has included a woman asking her on social media if she had actually sold her daughter to a child-trafficking ring. Another man asked to see pictures of Ana Grace’s dead body as proof the shooting actually happened.
Marquez-Greene said Kelly should at least give Sandy Hook families equal time on her show and promote some of the charity work they’ve been doing to remember the lives of their loved ones. She said the media also need to learn to honor the families’ grief.
“There are two things people need to grieve in a healthy way, and that’s a sense of safety and a sense of control,” said Marquez-Greene, who is a licensed family therapist. “Having this buffoon on her show really interferes with both of those.”