Conservative radio host and Trump mentor Alex Jones apologized Friday for spreading a fake news story that inspired an armed man to storm a pizzeria in search of abused children in December.
Jones, a conspiracy theorist who operates the website Infowars, had suggested that Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., was hiding child sex slaves in its basement as part of a pedophilia ring supported by top Democratic politicians.
Encouraged by Trump, Jones and a network of right-wing fake news sites made up a bogus and bizarre accusation that Comet is a front for a Hillary Clinton-affiliated pedophilia ring, and the resulting calls and messages threaten a “public lynching” of this nonexistent ring.
No evidence ever emerged that such activities took place — the restaurant doesn’t even have a basement, as gunman Edgar Welch found out when he searched the premises. Jones cited government emails released by WikiLeaks that some people suggested contained “code words for human trafficking and/or pedophilia.”
In a statement posted to his website and read Friday in a video broadcast, Jones blamed other outlets and social media sites for the “not appropriate” level of attention given to the restaurant and its owner, James Alefantis.
Jones said he was not the author of the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, but regretted prior comments made in support of it.
“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 many media outlets and which we commented upon,” he said.
Jones further conceded that his “commentaries” about the suspected scandal relied upon “third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant,” as well as upon two unidentified reporters that he said “are no longer with us.”
Jones has promoted other conspiratorial ideas, including claims that former President Barack Obama illegally wiretapped Donald Trump, that the U.S. government carried out the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax.
Watch the video below: