Murphy blames Alex Jones, tech companies in school shooting suicides
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy joined an MSNBC panel Tuesday in condemning Infowars host Alex Jones and Silicon Valley companies for allowing conspiracy theories that may have factored into several recent school shooting-related suicides.
Murphy was on Morning Joe, the day after Jeremy Richman was found dead in an apparent suicide on the movie theater stage of the old Edmond Town Hall in Newtown. Richman and his wife co-founded Avielle Foundation after their daughter was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012.
Murphy and several “Morning Joe” panelists ridiculed Jones and tech companies including Google, Twitter and Facebook for allowing so-called “Sandy Hook” truther conspiracies to spread throughout the internet, exacerbating grief on school shooting victims and families.
MSNBC senior contributor Mike Barnicle asked Murphy directly about Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was a fake “false flag” and is the defendant in an ongoing defamation lawsuit filed victims’ families.
“One individual, and I won’t use his name, promulgated, promoted and achieved the almost incomprehensible feat of having some people in this country believe that Newtown was staged and as you know better than most, some of the parents were forced to move, to virtually hide in public,” Barnicle asked.
“I’ll use his name - we’re talking about Alex Jones,” Murphy said. “And the fact of the matter is that the companies that allow people like him, conspiracy theorists, to be able to purvey lies have a responsibility. There is no constitutional duty on an internet company to allow somebody to terrorize parents of mass tragedies like Alex Jones did to so long.”
The panel discussed the “never-ending” grief felt by Sandy Hook father Jeremy Richman and two Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors in Parkland, Florida who separately took their lives in the past two weeks.
Murphy demanded private tech companies stop allowing characters like Jones to “terrorize” school shooting survivors online.
Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, are among the plaintiffs in a defamation suit against Jones.
“From the beginning, we have said that Jones knowingly peddled false and malicious narratives in order to make money at the expense of the Sandy Hook families’ grief, safety and security,” said their lawyer, Joshua Koskoff. He declined comment on Richman’s death.
Jones recently hired controversial New Haven-based lawyer Norm Pattis to represent him in the Connecticut case.
Pattis released a statement Monday afternoon about Richman’s death.
“We note the tragic passing of Jeremy Richman with heavy hearts and profound sorrow,” he said. “Mr. Jones sends his condolences to Mr. Richman’s family and wishes only for peace.”