NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly will no longer host an upcoming gala for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, event organizers announced Monday, June 12.
Kelly was set to host the organization’s annual Promise Champion Gala in Washington, D.C., Wednesday June 14, before event organizers pulled the plug amid backlash over her recent interview with InfoWars host Alex Jones, a well-known conspiracy theorist who dismissed the deadly massacre as nothing more than a government hoax.
Those personally impacted by the 2012 shooting, which left 20 elementary school students and six adults dead, have decried the upcoming interview with Jones, urging Kelly and the NBC network not to air it.
“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 the nonprofit gun violence prevention group said in a statement. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
The controversial interview has already been taped, however, and is set to air this week on NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” according to The Hill.
The New York Times reported that the backlash prompted banker JP Morgan to pull all its local TV and digital ads from all NBC News programming until after the interview aired. On Monday, JPMorgan Chase’s chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau, tweeted that “as an advertiser, I’m repulsed that Megyn Kelly would give a second of airtime” to Jones.
— Kristin Lemkau (@KLemkau) June 12, 2017
Surprisingly, even Jones himself called for the interview not to be aired, claiming Kelly lied to him about what would be discussed.
“I’m calling for @megynkelly to cancel the airing of our interview for misrepresenting my views on Sandy Hook,” he tweeted Monday, along with a 41-minute YouTube video.
— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) June 12, 2017
Liz Cole, the executive producer of the former Fox News host’s Sunday night show, argued that people should wait before passing judgement on Kelly’s interview with Jones.
“He’s a controversial figure for sure, but as journalists it’s our job to interview newsmakers and people of influence, no matter how abhorrent their views may be,” Cole said to CNN’s Dylan Byers on Monday. “He’s someone who is worthy of explanation. By sitting down with him, there’s value in that.”
Despite the backlash, Kelly has defended her decision to invite Jones onto her show, saying that she only sat down with him to “shine a light” on the “considerable falsehoods” he spouts.
“I find Alex Jones’s suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does,” she said in a statement. “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?”
Kelly expressed disappointment that she’d no longer be hosting the Sandy Hook event but said she respected the foundation’s decision to remove her.