The Pizzagate conspiracy theory went viral in early November 2016,[1] claiming that the Podesta emails leaked by WikiLeaks, revealed a number of pizzerias and members of the Democratic party participating in a child-sex ring.[2][3][4][5][6]


BuzzFeed traced the start of the conspiracy theory to a Tweet written by an alt-right account claimed that emails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop purportedly revealed the existence of a pedophilia ring and an initially unrelated forum post on a conspiracy theorist website citing a post on 4chan. These claims were then spread by and elaborated on by fake news websites, one going so far as to claim that the NYPD had raided Hillary Clinton's property.[1]

Redditors from /r/The_Donald created the "Pizzagate" subreddit to further develop the conspiracy theory.[2] This subreddit was banned on November 23, 2016 for violating Reddit's policy against doxing, as users would post the personal details of people imagined to connected to this conspiracy.[6] PolitiFact investigated these claims and found no evidence for them.[3] Around this time, some Twitter and 4chan users started searching through the Podesta emails to find code words about sex trafficking.[1]


Some Pizzagate believers sent death threats to the owner of Comet Ping Pong.[2][7] Additionally, some followers of the conspiracy, claim that Kanye West's hospitalization had to with allegedly having evidence on Pizzagate.[8] The conspiracy theory became popular on Turkish social media and in Turkish publications after it was spread through pro-government newspapers. The Daily Dot concluded this was likely an attempt to draw attention away from actual child abuse problems within Turkey at the time.[9]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Silverman, Craig. "How A Completely False Claim About Hillary Clinton Went From A Conspiracy Message Board To Big Right Wing Blogs". BuzzFeed News. November 4, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kang, Cecilia. "This Pizzeria Is Not a Child-Trafficking Site". The New York Times. November 21, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 Emery Jr., C. Eugene. "Evidence ridiculously thin for sensational claim of huge underground Clinton sex network". November 4, 2016. PolitiFact.
  4. [1]
  5. Washington City Paper [2]
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ohlheiser, Abby Fearing yet another witch hunt, Reddit bans 'Pizzagate', November 24, 2016, Washington Post
  7. Cavanaugh, Darien. 'Pizzagate' Emails, Conspiracy Theory Continue To Draw Attention". November 27, 2016. Inquisitr
  8. Ewart, Alan. ""What is 'Pizzagate' and 'Twittergate' and Why is Kanye West Involved?" Inquisitr. November 22, 2016.
  9. Sozeri, Efe Kerem. "Alt-Right PizzaGate Conspiracy Fuels Anti-Americanism in Turkey". The Daily Dot.