The station, WVIT, serves an area of the state that includes Newtown, Conn., the city in which the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre took place in 2012. Jones, who is the operator of the website InfoWars, has come under fire for claiming that the school shooting was a hoax, and that the victims — 20 of whom were children — were played by actors.
“Whenever there is news regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy, we know that the pain resurfaces for our community, our viewers and for you, our colleagues at WVIT,” the station said in an internal memo obtained by Variety. “Over the last few days, we have listened intently to Sandy Hook parents, our viewers and importantly, to you. We have considered the deep emotions from the wounds of that day that have yet to heal.”
“Because those wounds are understandably still so raw, we have decided not to air this week’s episode of ‘Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly,'” the memo continued. “We will continue our local coverage, including a special report on our Sunday 11pm newscast, which includes Sandy Hook parents, Governor Malloy and others who work to affect change around violence and mental illness. For those in our viewing area who still wish to see the show, it will be available Monday on NBCNews.com.”
Kelly, whose new Sunday night news magazine premiered two weeks ago on NBC, has faced mounting backlash for interviewing Jones. JPMorgan Chase & Co. said Monday that it would pull all ads and digital spots from Kelly’s show until after the interview airs. On Tuesday morning, Kelly was dropped as the host of the gala for Sandy Hook Promise — an anti-gun-violence charity founded by parents of Sandy Hook victims.
Jones has also complained publicly about the forthcoming broadcast, claiming that Kelly is misrepresenting his take on Sandy Hook. He then leaked the full audio of the interview on Thursday.
Kelly has defended her decision to proceed with the interview in the face of the public criticism. In a statement released Tuesday on Twitter, Kelly cited President Donald Trump’s past praise for Jones when justifying her decision to conduct the interview. “President Trump, by praising and citing him, appearing on his show, and giving him White House press credentials, has helped elevate Jones, to the alarm of many,” Kelly wrote. “Our goal in sitting down with him was to shine a light — as journalists are supposed to do — on this influential figure, and yes — to discuss the considerable falsehoods he has promoted with near impunity.”