The 2016 presidential campaign is finally, mercifully, nearing its completion, but there’s still time for a little more absurdity. Comet Ping Pong, a pizzeria in the Washington DC neighborhood of Chevy Chase, is much more than a pizzeria. It’s the center of a Clinton-operated sex ring, according to alt-right conspiracy theorists on Reddit, 4Chan, and across the rest of the internet.
The Washington City Paper reports some supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump are "obsessed with a purported connection between the pizzeria and the Hillary Clinton campaign," convinced it’s a front for sinister goings-on controlled by the Democratic nominee, her husband and former president Bill Clinton, and the rest of the Democratic Party establishment. As with many of the absurd headlines to come out of this election cycle, the conspiracy has its roots in Clinton campaign emails published online by WikiLeaks.
Some of the leaked emails reveal communication between Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis, who was previously in a relationship with Republican-turned-Democratic operative David Brock. The messages seem innocent enough, but alt-right conspiracy theorists believe they’re actually code referring to sex trafficking of minors. City Paper notes this all appears to be a reaction to the link between the Clintons to former Bear Stearns partner Jeffrey Epstein, who in 2008 pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from an underage girl. Bill Clinton has reportedly flown on Epstein’s private jet multiple times.
Multiple attempts to reach Comet Ping Pong were unsuccessful. But, Alefantis tells City Paper there’s no truth to the bizarre allegations: "The whole election has really just been insane." Although, considering the nature of the theories, Comet Ping Pong’s profile photo on Facebook isn’t doing the restaurant any favors.
The conspiracy, dubbed "pizzagate" by those who believe it, is surfacing around the same time an organization called Pizza to the Polls has announced plans to feed pizza to hungry voters who may be waiting in long lines at their polling places. No doubt, these internet sleuths will discover how the seemingly kind gesture is in fact a plot to commit voter fraud across America.