Radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones issued an apology on Friday for his site InfoWars' coverage of the "Pizzagate" hoax, in which he attributed errors in his commentaries to the reporting of other media outlets.
In a statement posted to InfoWars' website, which Jones also read aloud on his radio show of the same name, Jones said that he regretted his commentaries' impact on Comet Ping Pong pizzeria and its owner, James Alefantis, while citing the influence of other publications.
"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," Jones said. "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. "
A number of mainstream media outlets did report on the conspiracy, which falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton was linked to a child sex-trafficking ring hidden within Comet Ping Pong, but those stories were to debunk fictitious reports that spread on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan and various fake news sites — including InfoWars.
Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, traveled to the pizzeria with a gun in December to investigate after he read about the conspiracy theory. He pleaded guilty to assault and weapons charges Friday.
Still, Jones backtracked his site's reports and formally distanced himself from the false allegations — a surprising move considering Jones' reputation as a firebrand conspiracy theorist who publicly argued that the Sandy Hook school shooting was "completely fake" and used as a measure to promote stricter gun control laws.
"I want our viewers and listeners to know that we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had on Mr. Alefantis, Comet Ping Pong, or its employees," Jones said. "We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be construed as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing."