Infowars host Alex Jones, who has pushed a gamut of harmful conspiracy theories, is trying to deflect responsibility by blaming temporary bouts of “psychosis.”
Jones is being sued by a parent of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. In a three-hour deposition this month with Mark Bankston, a lawyer representing Sandy Hook parents, Jones downplayed the harm caused by telling millions of people that the parents of dead children are lying, and he refused to apologize. Instead, he tried to blame “psychosis” brought on by the pressures of his job.
Below is an exchange between Bankston and Jones, from a deposition transcript released Friday. (Minor edits have been made for brevity and clarity. You can read the full transcript here.)
Bankston: Okay, Mr. Jones. You would agree with me that when some damage happens, when you break something, when you cause something to be lost, when you hurt somebody, whether it’s intentional or whether it’s a mistake, there’s consequences for that, right? People should be accountable for the people they hurt?
Jones: Well, sometimes people claim they’ve been hurt when they haven’t been. So you have to look at the agenda behind things. ...
And I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged. So I think, as a pundit, someone giving an opinion, that, you know, my opinions have been wrong; but they were never wrong consciously to hurt people.
Bankston: You said false things about Sandy Hook because it was psychosis?
Jones: Well, I’m just saying that the trauma of the media and the corporations lying so much, then everything begins ― you don’t trust anything anymore, kind of like a child whose parents lie to them over and over again, well, pretty soon they don’t know what reality is.
Jones did not provide any proof that he has ever been diagnosed with psychosis, nor does it seem that he has made the claim before.
He told Bankston that he was done lying about Sandy Hook and claimed that he has stopped using bad sourcing to peddle conspiracy theories without confirming them. But only days after the deposition, he was back on the air attacking Sandy Hook parents. In a March 25 Infowars broadcast, he argued that a Sandy Hook father who was found dead of an apparent suicide was actually murdered in order to distract from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.
Jones has had to repeatedly make excuses for himself for his harmful conspiracy regurgitation. He had to apologize for pushing Pizzagate. He’s being sued for misidentifying the 2018 Parkland, Florida, high school gunman. He has made blanket apologies after taking flak for his conspiracy theories about the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Multiple Sandy Hook families are suing him for causing emotional distress by calling them liars and inciting death threats against them from people who believe the theories he promotes.
The psychosis excuse, however, isn’t his most classic. Who could forget when, during a hearing in the custody battle with his ex-wife over their children, he blamed forgetting the names of his kids’ teachers on a “big old bowl of chili”?