Conspiracy monger Alex Jones has finally admitted that he might have fucked up when he promoted the idea of Pizzagate, some truly bizarre and ultimately destructive claptrap rooted in the idea that a D.C. pizza parlor was doubling as the site of a child sex-trafficking ring led by Hillary Clinton and campaign chairman John Podesta.
In a surprising six-minute video posted to his website InfoWars, Jones expressed regret for his role in propagating the theory that the eatery, Comet Ping Pong, was just a family-oriented facade for more sinister dealings. The apology was directed specifically at Comet’s owner, James Alefantis, and does not mention either Clinton or Podesta:
“I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him. We relied on third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. We also relied on accounts of [two] 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.”
According to the Washington Post, Alefantis wrote Jones a letter in February demanding an apology and a retraction of InfoWars’ postings about Pizzagate. It didn’t invoke legal action, but the timing suggests that Jones may have been concerned about a lawsuit. Friday marked one full month since Jones received Alefantis’s letter, after which Jones could have been exposed to punitive damages in a libel suit. Which may explain why Jones, in his scripted mea culpa, attempted to pass himself off as a victim of fake news, rather than its progenitor:
“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. This was an ever-evolving story, which had a huge amount of commentary about it across many media outlets.”
Alefantis released a statement following the apology:
“I am pleased that Mr. Jones has apologized and admitted that he and his employees repeatedly spread falsehoods about me and my restaurant. I wish that he would have made this admission and apology months ago. And his apology, while welcome, does nothing to address the harm he and his company have done to me, my business, and my community.”
Alefantis and his employees received regular death threats as the story picked up traction on such sites as reddit and 4chan, though the lunacy culminated in December after a North Carolina man traveled to D.C. to “self-investigate” the rumors, brandishing an assault rifle and firing shots inside the pizzeria as he searched for the fictional ring. The gunman, identified as Edgar Madisson Welch, pleaded guilty on Friday to weapons and assault charges. He faces 18 to 24 months in prison for transporting firearms through state lines, and 18 to 60 months for the D.C. charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.
In one particular segment, called PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture, Jones attempted to link Clinton and her camp with a number of high-profile pedophilia cases, purporting that the former Secretary of State was using underground tunnels to traffic children around the city.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jones’s show reaches around 2 million each week.