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A letter to NBC from the families of Sandy Hook victims urged the network to considering the “ethical and legal ramifications” of airing Megyn Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Obtained by Politico’s Hadas Gold, a law firm representing several families who lost loved ones in the 2012 Newtown, Conn., attack implies that by airing the controversial interview NBC would be opening itself up to possible legal action.
“We urge you to consider the ethical and legal ramifications of broadcasting this interview to millions of Americans,” read the letter. “By now, it should be clear to NBC that airing the interview will cause serious emotional distress to dozens of Sandy Hook families. NBC — and NBC alone — has the power to prevent that harm.”
The letter is addressed to NBC President Andy Lack, Kelly’s executive producer David Corvo and NBC’s general counsel, Kimberly Harris. Many people, including Sandy Hook families, denounced the interview as soon as NBC aired promos with the man who has been described as “almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America.”
“Surely, we can agree that these families have suffered enough already,” read the letter, “and that they will continue to suffer enough to last several lifetimes. Which is why we cannot fathom — from a moral, ethical or legal standpoint — NBC’s decision to amplify the voice of a man who has made a living debasing that suffering and smearing our clients’ names. Over the last few years, Alex Jones has weaponized his radio show to publish false and defamatory statements about our clients: chief among them that they are actors perpetrating a massive fraud on the American public by faking the deaths of their loved ones.”
Jones and his website, InfoWars, have perpetuated the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook attack was a hoax to push for gun control measures. Jones claims to have a direct line to President Trump, and interviewed then-candidate Trump in December 2015 for 30 minutes. During the exchange, Trump told Jones that his reputation was “amazing” and that he wouldn’t let the radio host down. So far this year Jones has apologized for his role in spreading the conspiracy that a Washington, D.C., restaurant was a front for a child pedophilia ring (PizzaGate) and for saying that the yogurt company Chobani had brought crime and disease to an Idaho town where it opened a factory. In response to the shooting at a Republican Congressional baseball practice Wednesday, InfoWars published a video with Jones entitled “First shots fired in second U.S. Civil War! What will you do?”
Kelly’s interview with Jones is set to air on Sunday night, the third episode of her new primetime series that has gotten off to a rocky start with both the Jones interview and another one with Russian President Vladimir Putin that received poor reviews. Kelly joined NBC News after a lengthy tenure at Fox News, and is set to get her own daytime program in September. CNN reported earlier this week that Kelly’s show was losing advertisers over the Jones interview, while Page Six reported Thursday that NBC was overhauling the upcoming episode.
NBC was hit with another problem Thursday night when Jones released recorded audio of a pre-interview conversation with Kelly. In the conversation, Kelly promises it won’t be a “gotcha” interview.
“It’s not going to be a contentious sort of gotcha exchange,” said Kelly. “That’s not what this show is and that’s not what I really want to do. I want to do in-depth profiles of people. Just interesting people. So I can ask you that. This is what the critics say, but this is not going to be an ‘Ah-ha, play a clip.’”
From the leaked conversation, Kelly’s interest seems to have been piqued during Jones’ child custody hearing earlier this year, in which he said eating “a big bowl of chili” affects his memory and that he had been with over 150 women by age 16.
“To be perfectly honest,” said Kelly, “I don’t know what all the controversies surrounding you are. I know you make waves and people have this reaction like “Oh, Alex Jones, oh my God,’ so I’ll look at some of them.”
As of Friday morning, NBC was still planning on airing the interview and “getting this serious story right.”
NEW Nbc News statement on Megyn Kelly/ Alex Jones interview pic.twitter.com/kScG0yCCj1
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) June 16, 2017