There’s fake news, and then there’s inventing conspiracy theories saying that the Clinton campaign is at the center of a child sex-trafficking ring run out of a suburban D.C. pizza shop. That latter outrageous fiction is known as “Pizzagate,” and today, months after a 28-year-old North Carolina man opened fire inside Comet Ping Pong, the alleged center of this insane theory, InfoWars host and good pal of President Donald Trump Alex Jones apologized for spreading it. Sort of.
According to a report by progressive media watchdog group Media Matters, Jones aired a pre-taped statement on his InfoWars show earlier today, saying, in essence, that after months of research, he and his staff have concluded that the “Pizzagate” theory is indeed as baseless as it sounds. He added that he’s sorry if it hurt Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis or any of his employees’ feelings that he called them pedophiles and criminals, but he was just going off of what one of his reporters was telling him at the time so it’s not really his fault. Here are some of the highlights:
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. We were participating in a discussion that was being written about by scores of media outlets, in one of the most hotly contested and disputed political environments our country has ever seen. We relied on third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. We also relied on accounts of reporters who are no longer with us…
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 that were being written about in the media outlets and which we commented upon …
I want our viewers and listeners to know that we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had on Mr. Alefantis, Comet Ping Pong, or its employees. We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be considered as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing.
The full statement is also available on Jones’ website, although it’s difficult to find on the homepage amid all the Muslim-baiting and articles explaining how it was actually Hillary who conspired with the Russians to bring down her own campaign, thanks. Instead, you can read the full transcript on Media Matters, or watch it below, if you need that Alex Jones pack-a-day growl to complete the experience.
This isn’t the first time Jones has peddled harmful untruths; as Newsweek points out, he has also exploited the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the 9/11 attacks by spreading “false flag” conspiracy theories claiming that the government actually orchestrated both attacks, then covered their tracks by making it look like they were the work of terrorists. Charming. And that’s just the tip of the lie-berg when it comes to Alex Jones; some of his more egregious claims are documented on the Jones-debunking website Knowledge Fight.