On December 14, 2012, Lenny Pozner dropped his three children off at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Less than an hour later, his world was forever changed when a mentally disturbed, former student entered the school and murdered 20 first-graders and 7 school staff members. Noah, Lenny’s son, at 6 years old, was the youngest victim. Almost immediately, photos of Noah and other young victims were broadcast globally as the media reported the details of the horrific event.
In the midst of his grief, he was met with a new form of hell. Extremists, believing that the government had either murdered innocent people or staged an elaborate crisis play, began making claims on social media and internet platforms that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax designed to repeal the Second Amendment. Soon, Noah’s picture was being used by these conspiracy theorists to promote their agenda.
Initially Lenny contacted the most prolific posters and provided information about his son (birth certificate, photos, school reports, etc.) in hopes that they would stop attacking Noah’s memory. Unable to appeal to reason, when this failed, Lenny began contacting the social media and internet service providers hosting the blogs and posts, seeking assistance.
The general apathy and often, hostility of social media and internet service providers and the unceasing attacks of conspiracy theorists and hoaxers, first on Noah and then on the entire Pozner family, inspired Lenny to found the HONR Network. As survivors and the family embers of victims of other mass casualty events, also targeted by hoaxers and hate groups online, reached out to Lenny for advice and assistance, the HONR Network took shape. Social media and internet service providers, facing backlash for failure to provide protection for victims of organized online attacks using their platforms, also began to seek Lenny’s advice on policy and content removal. Lenny became a figure-head of the dignity on the internet movement, ultimately achieving the goal of making survivors and victims, as well as victim’s families a “protected group” on many social media and internet service provider platforms. This bans the mocking or targeting of this group of people and the removal of defaming content, pictures, and harassing commentary.
Today, Lenny and the HONR Network continue to advance the cause of empowering victims on online hate and harassment, educating people as to their rights and responsibilities online, and acting as a policy advisor to social media and internet service providers. And sadly, still removing hate filled and harassing content targeting Noah.
Called the most important First Amendment court case of the 21st Century, Lenny and his ex-wife, Veronique de la Rosa filed suit against conspiracy theorist and internet snake oil salesman, Alex Jones, claiming defamation and the causing of intentional distress. More information.