The father of a child who died during the Sandy Hook school shooting has been given a full facial disguise before being interviewed on television, to protect him from being identified by crazed conspiracy theorists.
Lenny Pozner’s son Noah, six, was the youngest victim of the December 14, 2012 massacre of 20 children and six staff.
Since very early on in the aftermath, Pozner was singled out by conspiracy theorists claiming that the murders never happened, and that it was all part of a Barack Obama-led plot to rid the country of guns.
‘I was being attacked for the memory of my son. My son’s very short life was being attacked, and I just wasn’t going to stand for that,’ said Pozner, appearing heavily disguised on 60 Minutes, in a segment discussing a campaign to have social media companies held responsible for the content they allow online.
Lenny Pozner appeared in disguise on 60 Minutes, to avoid conspiracy theorists finding him
A team of theatre make up specialists worked to alter Pozner’s features for the interview
Pozner was given a wig, prosthetics and fake skin in a bid to disguise him from attackers
He has fought back against the trolls, winning settlements against those spreading the lies and campaigning for Facebook to remove the conspiracy theory posts.
In June 2017 Lucy Richards, 57, was sentenced to five months in a Florida jail for having sent messages to Pozner, including one that read: ‘Death is coming to you real soon and nothing you can do about it.’
In June 2019 Pozner won a defamation case against editors of a book that claimed no one died at the Newtown, Connecticut, school.
A summary judgment found that James H. Fetzer and Mike Palecek defamed Pozner with statements that his son’s death certificate was a fake.
In October 2019 a Wisconsin jury determined the amount that Fetzer must pay Pozner for making defamatory statements, with the foreperson writing in ‘$450,000’ on the form.
In December 2019 the host of the InfoWars show, Alex Jones, was ordered by a Texas court to pay $100,000 in damages to another father. Pozner’s case against Jones is still pending.
Pozner’s son Noah was six when he was murdered at Sandy Hook school in December 2012
Lucy Richards (pictured) was sentenced to five months in prison for sending him death threats
Pozner’s aggressive countering of the lies has made him a particular target for conspiracy theorists – he has received multiple death threats, including one voicemail that saw a woman sentenced to prison, and has moved house seven times for safety.
‘Conversations denying the tragedy. Accusing the government of staging it,’ he said, when asked on 60 Minutes what form the conspiracy theories took.
‘That Noah did not die; that I’m not Noah’s father. It all revolves around the notion that these are staged shootings, scripted events, that I’m an actor, that I’m paid, to fake the death of a child.’
Pozner founded the HONR Network to help those who faced similar situations.
Noah was one of 20 children and six staffers murdered in the Connecticut school in 2012
Mourners embrace following funeral services for six year-old Noah in December 2012
Tributes to Noah and the other children are seen at a memorial for the victims in 2012
He has helped Maatje Benassi, who in March was labeled Patient Zero because she had been in Wuhan, China, in October 2019.
She had represented the U.S. military in an armed forces version of the Olympics; was a cyclist and an Army reservist who served in Iraq.
In March an article about her in her local newspaper caught the attention of a deep state conspiracist named George Webb and he filmed a video accusing her of being part of a plot to spread COVID, posted by a conspiracy theorist on YouTube that had already drawn hundreds of thousands of views.
She began getting death threats.
‘We’re going to put a bullet in her skull. Let’s load up the trucks. Let’s go get them. Let’s hang them,’ she recounted, adding that her address had also been posted online.
Both are now campaigning to try and make social media networks more accountable for their content.