Megyn Kelly has agreed to step down as host of a gun violence prevention fundraiser related to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre after receiving heavy backlash over an upcoming interview with InfoWars founder Alex Jones, who has said that the attack was a hoax.
The Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly anchor had been scheduled to host the Promise Champions Gala — an event organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a gun control nonprofit formed in the wake of the horrific 2012 attack on a Connecticut elementary school that left 27 dead, including 20 children — on June 14th in Washington, D.C.
But the NBC News anchor’s interview with Jones, set to air on Father’s Day, June 18, has prompted the group to disinvite Kelly from appearing at the event, according to Variety.
“Sandy Hook Promise cannot support the decision by Megyn or NBC to give any form of voice or platform to Alex Jones and have asked Megyn Kelly to step down as our Promise Champion Gala host,” Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, said in a statement. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
Kelly — who left Fox News earlier this year to lead two news programs at NBC — shared a preview clip of her interview with Jones on her Twitter account Sunday. In the clip, Kelly asks Jones how he feels about being called “the most paranoid man in the world,” while the radio host and InfoWars founder says he believes 9/11 was an “inside job” and that he was unfairly maligned for his views on the Sandy Hook attack.
Next Sunday, I sit down with conservative radio host @RealAlexJones to discuss controversies and conspiracies #SundayNight June 18 on NBC pic.twitter.com/7bVz6Fobf5
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 11, 2017
The preview clip quickly generated a fierce backlash on social media, including from relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, who expressed their outrage in messages to Kelly on Twitter. Kelly addressed the controversy on her own Twitter page, explaining that Donald Trump’s appearance on Jones’ radio show during the 2016 presidential race made the media figure newsworthy and deserving of an interview: “Many don’t know him; our job is 2 shine a light,” she tweeted.
Still, at least one advertiser, JPMorgan Chase, reportedly asked NBC News to pull its TV and digital ads from appearing alongside promotional material for the Jones interview. The bank’s chief marketing officer, Kristin Lemkau, wrote on Twitter that she was “repulsed” that NBC News and Kelly gave Jones a platform.
In a statement Tuesday, Kelly said she was “disappointed” that she would not be able to attend and support Wednesday night’s Sandy Hook promise event, though she said she understood and respected the decision.
“I find Alex Jones’ suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does,” Kelly wrote in a statement posted to her Twitter account. “It left me, and many other Americans, asking the very question that prompted this interview: How does Jones, who traffics in these outrageous conspiracy theories, have the respect of the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions?”
Here is my statement regarding Sunday night’s interview: pic.twitter.com/iS2VfyLt6S
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 13, 2017
Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, featuring the Jones interview segment, is set to air June 18 on NBC News.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum
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