Alex Jones Forced to Retract Pizzagate Claims and Apologize
Alex Jones, the conspiracy-loving media personality, apologized Friday for his role in promoting “Pizzagate,” the baseless viral story that a Washington pizza restaurant was the locale of a child sex-abuse ring run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta.
In a surprising and rare bit of backtracking, Jones posted a six-minute video on his website, “InfoWars,” in which he read a prepared statement formally distancing himself and his site from what became a textbook story of fake news run amok. He addressed his apology to James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong, the restaurant that was the supposed locale of the alleged conspiracy last year. “I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones said. “We relied on third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. We also relied on accounts of [two] reporters who are no longer with us.” He added, “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.”
The story, he said, “was based upon what we now believe was an incorrect narrative.” Jones, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, offered no comment or apology to Clinton or Podesta for outlandish statements about their alleged involvement in the abuse of hundreds of children.
Jones didn’t say what prompted his apology but it may have been motivated by a letter Alefantis wrote to him in February. The letter demands an apology and retraction for InfoWars’ postings about Pizzagate; it does not threaten legal action, but refers to what Alefantis describes as “defaming” comments by InfoWars. But the timing of Jones’s apology suggests he was concerned about a potential lawsuit. 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.
It's good to see Jones facing up to some sort of reality, at least, even if it is only because he was going to get his ass sued.