NBC News is catching heat from viewers who are furious about anchor Megyn Kelly’s interview with controversial right-wing radio host Alex Jones.
During the interview, a preview of which was published on Sunday, Kelly questions the InfoWars founder on his promotion of conspiracy theories surrounding September 11 and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
But critics, including family members of victims killed in the 2012 shooting that left 27 dead, are arguing that the interview elevates Jones’ platform and legitimizes his provocative viewpoints.
The family of Vicki Soto, a teacher killed in the shooting, said Jones and his supporters “have done nothing but make our lives a living hell for the last 4 1/2 years.”
“This incessant need for ratings at the cost of the emotional well-being of our family is disgusting and disappointing,” the family said in a statement addressing the NBC interview. “You should be ashamed of yourselves for allowing this behavior.”
The mother of a child killed in the shooting was more fierce in her criticism of Kelly, who defended the interview by saying her job was to “shine a light” on Jones.
“Shining a light works on cockroaches,” Nelba Márquez-Greene told The Washington Post. “It doesn’t work on Alex Jones.”
Márquez-Greene tweeted a photo of her daughter at Kelly’s account with the message, “Her name is Ana Grace Márquez-Greene. Say her name- stare at this & tell me it’s worth it.”
— Nelba Márquez-Greene (@Nelba_MG) June 12, 2017
Christina Hassinger, daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, called Jones a “piece of actual garbage” in a tweet, and added “Shame on you @megynkelly.”
— cristina hassinger (@chass63) June 12, 2017
Meanwhile, Twitter uses are demanding NBC pull the interview, which is set to air on Sunday, and circulated the hashtag #ShameOnNBC.
#ShameOnNBC for giving air to Alex Jones who cruelly bullies victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting. He is the lowest of the low
— Laura Banish Abbasi (@lauraladida) June 12, 2017
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 12, 2017
— DrJ (@AZDrJML) June 12, 2017
— The Mr Sir Luke (@mrlukealexander) June 12, 2017
For Kelly, the interview marks the second controversy since she joined NBC in May. Earlier this month, the anchor’s heavily hyped interview with Vladimir Putin earned her criticism for her inability to get substantive answers from the Russian president.
NBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.