This Sandy Hook Father Lives In Hiding Because of Conspiracy Theories Fueled By Alex Jones
Lenny Pozner lives in hiding. His six-year-old son Noah was one of the 20 elementary school children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting almost eight years ago.
In the days after the shooting, Pozner realized that the tragedy that stole his son’s life had become the subject of conspiracy theories, fueled by people like Alex Jones.
“Alex Jones has this style of narrative that will dispute anything that’s being reported in the mainstream media,” Pozner said, in an interview for FRONTLINE’s United States of Conspiracy. The documentary examines how Jones, longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and the president helped to lay the foundation for conspiracy theories to take center stage in America’s national conversation.
“By the time Sandy Hook rolled around, [Jones] was already well practiced in that,” Pozner said. “And his audience was easily primed for all of those different ideas — that it’s either a false flag, or that everyone is faking their grief, and that it didn’t happen.”
After finding conspiracies about the Sandy Hook parents on Jones’ website InfoWars, Pozner said he wrote Jones an email, saying that he had a duty to report the truth. “I’m still just weeks out of the tragedy, so I’m in a fog, for the most part, of grief,” Pozner said. “But that upset me.”
He received a response from the show that they were “distancing themselves from these conspiracy ideas,” but Pozner said that turned out to be untrue.
For Pozner, that was just the beginning. Noah’s mother soon became a target of Jones’ conspiracies. “He accused her of being an actor, faking an interview with Anderson Cooper in front of a green screen. That became one of the cornerstone conspiracy points for Sandy Hook,” Pozner said.
In an effort to combat the misinformation and conspiracies, Pozner said he published the medical examiner’s report related to Noah’s death. “It was a tough decision at first. And it wasn’t something that I took lightly.” He also published his son’s photos and school records. “This was really honoring Noah, and revealing the story of his life and his death, which is the story of Noah.”
It did nothing to stop the conspiracists, who only concocted more theories. Pozner found conspiracies about himself — that he didn’t exist, or that he didn’t attend Noah’s funeral. “I reached the point where I realized that they were just responding to the tragedy with hate instead of compassion. And they weren’t really looking for truth,” he said.
At that point, Pozner said he stopped trying to correct misinformation and founded the HONR Network, a non-profit focused on removing conspiratorial content from platforms like YouTube. In response to his actions, Pozner found himself becoming a bigger target.
“It turned into what seemed like Alex Jones had some sort of vendetta against me, because I was hurting his business. I was crippling his YouTube channel,” he said. Pozner said Jones kept repeating Pozner’s name, repeating Noah’s name, and called on his audience to investigate Pozner.
Pozner changed his address several times, and tried to hide his identity. People still found him.
In January 2016, a woman who claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was fake sent threatening messages to Pozner. One of them said: “Death is coming to you real soon.” She was later sentenced to five months in prison, according to The Washington Post. She was an avid follower of Jones and InfoWars.
In 2018, Pozner took Jones to court, as did other Sandy Hook parents.
“I simply had enough. And that was what needed to be done. I’m proud of bringing the lawsuit, [it] brought a lot more attention to who he really is, and what his show represents,” Pozner said.
Under oath, Jones would say that he suffered from a “form of psychosis” that made him think everything was staged. He would admit, “I’ve had a chance to believe that children died and it’s a tragedy…”
The lawsuit continues.
But for Pozner, Jones’ admission was enough. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve already won,” he said. “Having Alex Jones admit under oath that Noah did die the way it was reported, in his school, that’s a victory for me. Having Alex Jones say that he was wrong, that it was a real tragedy — that is a victory.”
Reflecting on the influence of conspiracy theorists like Jones, Pozner said, “These ideas are not harmless. So, spreading hate, vilifying people, there’s someone that will read it and possibly take action, and really take it to heart. I’ve seen that happen. I’ve seen that happen in my life.”
This story has been updated.