Alex Jones has apologized to the owner of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria for spreading the fake story last year that linked the restaurant to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and human trafficking.
Jones, as the Austin-based host of Infowars.com, has a long history of pushing wild conspiracy theories, such as how the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or how the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax.
But in a rare backtracking mea culpa, Jones apologized Friday for his role in promoting the baseless “Pizzagate” story that went viral among right-wing bloggers and media sites during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The gist of the fake story accused Clinton and her presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, of running a child sex abuse ring through the Comet Ping Pong restaurant owned by James Alefantis. Podesta’s comments about the pizzeria — made in Democratic Party emails exposed by WikiLeaks — became fodder for fake news web portals as well as popular user-generated content sites like Reddit and 4chan.
Jones, in a statement he read aloud for his online audience, tried to put some distance between himself and the fake story and blamed “scores of media outlets,” “third-party accounts of alleged activities” and “accounts of (Infowars) reporters who are no longer with us” for the “incorrect narrative” he discussed several times on his program.
“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,” Jones said.
In language that was clearly sculpted by a legal mind hoping to avoid possible litigation, Jones 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.”
For many people, the Pizzagate conspiracy theory became part of the mainstream political discussion only in December, after 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina brought a gun into a Comet Ping Pong packed with customers, and pointed it at an employee in hopes of finding proof of “Pizzagate.”
Welch surrendered to police when he found no evidence that children were being harbored there, District of Columbia police said at the time.