The Internet conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate took a dark turn this weekend when an armed man stormed Comet Ping Pong, the Washington DC pizza joint that’s been buffeted by bizarre, unproven allegations that it’s at the center of a Democratic Party satanic cult and pedophile sex ring.
And now Pizzagate’s ardent adherents are claiming that the whole DC gunman story is a hoax propagated by mainstream media to avoid investigating the satanism and pedophile allegations leveled against Hillary Clinton — whom the conspiracy theorists allege (with no evidence) is orchestrating the sex ring with her longtime colleague, John Podesta.
IF #PizzaGate IS FAKE
Comet Ping Pong
— Boca Vista (@bocavista2016) December 5, 2016
Washington police on Sunday arrested a 28-year old later identified as Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, N.C., after receiving a call from a witness who saw a man with an assault rifle walking into the bar and music venue around 3pm.
His motive, he admitted after being taken into custody was “ to self-investigate ‘Pizzagate’,” police confirmed in a press release.
— Deputy Mayor Donahue (@SafeDC) December 5, 2016
The Pizzagate conspiracy theories originate from a couple of John Podesta emails released by Wikileaks during the presidential elections that mentioned pizza. Reddit and 4chan saw something diabolical in the commonplace mentions.
Podesta once attended a fundraiser at Comet Ping Pong whose owner, James Alefantis, has some prominent Democratic friends in Washington. From that, Twitter sleuths alleged that the restaurant could only be the meeting ground of high-profile child traffickers. According to believers, when Democratic politicos ordered pizzas at Comet, they were actually using code to talk about underage prostitutes.
No evidence has ever been found to confirm these theories which have been widely debunked.
But none of this matters to the conspiracy theorists, who now go even further, claiming that Sunday’s shooting was a nothing but a hoax supposed to distract us from the truth. Many Pizzagaters on Twitter say the fact that Edgar Welch has worked in films (he has an IMDB profile.) is solid proof that he is a “crisis” actor, enlisted to carry out a false flag shooting operation at Comet Pizza.
One aspiring Sherlock Holmes surmised on Twitter that the “elaborate hoax” had been orchestrated so that “they”could “move/destroy” evidence. Others claimed that some media outlets, such as Washingtonian magazine, wrote the story before it even occurred, citing inconsistencies between a story’s publishing time on Google News and the time of the event. (They did not take into account that Google allows individual users to personalize their news settings, including location and time zones.)
Story of Man @ comet ping pong with AR 15 is a hoax, setup by the cheif Faker himself to debunk #pizzagate. Do not buy what the media says!!
— American Hopestar (@SonofTHEKING00) December 5, 2016
— Ken G (@kgbbz10) December 4, 2016
— Νia~Recount=TrumpWon (@nia4_trump) December 5, 2016
The #pizzagate hoax is bizzarely popular among people who should remember the same satanic ritual abuse hoax being perpetrated against D&D.
— Bob Chipman (@the_moviebob) December 5, 2016
The Pizzagate situation highlights the dangerous consequences of the fevered news cycle. In past weeks, Comet Ping Pong employees and purveyors have been flooded with a torrent of abusive messages and death threats.
“The most sickening part of this vicious attack has been the stealing of Instagram images, Facebook images of children, minors, aged 5, 7, and 8 years old that are then slapped across their chat boards as nothing but pawns,” owner James Alefantis told the Washington City Paper last month.
In a statement released after Sunday’s incident, Alefantis condemned efforts by “certain” people to spread malicious and false rumors about Comet Ping Pong.
“What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences” he wrote. “I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today.”