Just when you thought it was safe, a bizarre internet conspiracy theory propagated by far-right crazies has reared its ugly head again. Pizzagate, the fabricated D.C.-based scandal purportedly involving the Clintons, a pizzeria, and a pedophile sex ring, has now reached Philadelphia.
Propagators of the mindbogglingly absurd theory have taken aim at a pair of Philly restaurants, as Philly.com reports: Pizza Brain, a pizzeria and pizza museum, and Little Baby’s, an ice cream shop that shares the same space.
The owner of Little Baby’s tells Philly.com that the shop has been on the receiving end of harassing phone calls and threatening emails in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Pizza Brain’s Instagram has been flooded with a deluge of bizarre comments, with users leaving cryptic comments like “We know. #pizzagate” and using hashtags such as #podestaemails and #pedo.
The Pizzagate faux-scandal erupted during the 2016 presidential race, and originally centered on a D.C. pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong. Users on internet forums such as Reddit and 4chan circulated the idea that the restaurant was a front for sinister activity led by nominee Hillary Clinton and involving other Democratic party figures. The conspiracy is rooted in hacked Clinton campaign emails published by Wikileaks, with believers claiming the messages are written in code that refers to sex-trafficking minors and Satanic rituals.
Though the wild theory has been widely exposed as fake news, Pizzagate truthers haven’t been dissuaded: They’ve also targeted restaurants in New York and Austin, and in December, one was arrested for firing a gun inside Comet Pizzeria after driving from North Carolina to “self-investigate” the situation. Pizza Brain and Little Baby’s have thankfully been spared of anything like that thus far, though both businesses are now taking extra safety precautions including logging any harassing phone calls.
• Internet Crazies Think This D.C. Pizzeria Is the Center of a Clinton Sex Ring [E]
• Pizzagate Truthers Target Philly Favorites Pizza Brain and Little Baby’s [Philly.com]
• The Absurd 'Pizzagate' Conspiracy Theory Has Spread to New York and Austin [E]