Two lawyers representing parents of the Sandy Hook tragedy in defamation lawsuits against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have a message for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): Stop defending the man who has helped further devastate innocent families.
Jones has been hit with multiple lawsuits for claiming the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a “hoax” perpetrated by “crisis actors” pretending to be the parents of dead children. Jones’ followers have harassed and threatened the parents of the shooting victims.
Several platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Spotify, removed accounts belonging to Jones and his website Infowars earlier this month for violating their terms of services.
“When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts,” YouTube said in an email at the time.
Cruz ― who pointed out he has also been unfairly attacked by the Infowars host ― came to Jones’ defense.
“Who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech?” Cruz tweeted at the time. “Free speech includes views you disagree with.”
Cruz tweeted again last week, this time to say it’s important to stand up to “tech censorship online ― which many on the Left are embracing.”
Mark Bankston and William Ogden of the Houston law firm Farrar & Ball represent two Sandy Hook families suing Jones, and they’re wondering why Cruz has chosen to take up this cause.
“When it comes to Jones, we can only presume that you are speaking from ignorance and that you do not know the nature of the conduct you are now zealously defending, nor the harm that has befallen my clients and many others,” the lawyers wrote in an op-ed published by the Austin American-Statesman.
“This is not a question of free speech,” they added. “This is not a question of disagreeing with a person’s political views. This is a question of just how much damage we’re prepared to let a madman inflict on the lives of innocent victims through malicious lies and willful harassment.”
The lawyers “beg” Cruz to read the suit filings before commenting on them.
“We’re not sure what it will take for you to stop defending Jones,” they wrote. “Does a Sandy Hook parent need to die before Facebook is allowed to deny this man a platform for his mayhem on their private service? Our clients fully recognize that if Jones wants to tell lies about them in the public square, there is very little anyone can do outside a courtroom to stop him. But we ask you not to defend the idea that private companies like Facebook must empower Jones to harass and endanger the lives of innocent victims.”