The mother of a victim from the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has asked NBC to pull Megyn Kelly‘s controversial interview with Alex Jones because he denies that the massacre – which claimed the lives of 26 people – ever happened.
After the Sandy Hook Promise Champion Gala asked the Kelly to step down from hosting their annual event, Nicole Hockley – the co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and the mother of 6-year-old victim Dylan – sent a letter to NBC News chairman Andrew Lack.
“That Jones could posit that what happened in Newtown was a hoax is beyond reprehensible; it is indefensible. It dishonors the lives of the 20 children and 6 adults who died on Dec. 14, 2012. The exposure that Jones will receive as a result of the broadcast will enrich him further and invigorate him and his supporters,” Hockley wrote. “There is undeniable evidence that whenever conspiracy theorists are given a platform or voice, it bolsters them.”
Hockley described the ordeal families in Sandy Hook have dealt with following claims that the tragedy was a hoax.
“We respect the thought and approach, however, you missed the larger impact in that giving Jones a platform and national forum, the real impact will be on families,” she said. “Listening to Jones’ comments in the last 24 hours, it is obvious he is basking in the platform he has already been given due to the outcry and is baiting you to air the show. Please – don’t make this about him. Make this about the people he and his followers harm.”
She concluded, “I urge you not to broadcast Alex Jones’ interview.”
Kelly said she was “disappointed” that she would not be hosting the gala – but insisted it would not change her decision to broadcast the interview with Jones.
“I understand and respect the decision of the event organizers but I’m of course disappointed that I won’t be there to support them on Wednesday night,” Kelly says in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“I find Alex Jones’s suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does. 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?”
“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,” she continues. “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.”
Kelly, 46, first previewed a clip of her interview with Jones — the conspiracy theorist and Infowars host who has called the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax — on the most recent episode of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. The full sit-down is set to air this Sunday.
WATCH: Megyn Kelly No Longer Hosting Sandy Hook Benefit Due to Alex Jones Interview
The teaser and a corresponding promotional selfie of Kelly and Jones was met with widespread criticism and outrage on social media, and on Monday, Sandy Hook Promise, a leading gun violence prevention organization, released a statement announcing that the NBC host would no longer emcee the organization’s annual gala on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
“This decision was spurred by NBC’s planned broadcast of Kelly’s interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who believes the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, was a hoax,” the statement read.
“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,” said Nicole Hockley, co-Founder and Managing Director. “It is our hope that Megyn and NBC reconsider and not broadcast this interview.”
Additionally, J.P. Morgan Chase pulled local TV and online advertisements from NBC until after Kelly’s interview with Jones airs, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly airs Sundays (7 p.m. ET) on NBC.