As of earlier today, the subreddit, r/Pizzagate, was officially banned by Reddit which posted the following notice to their site:
For those not familiar with the movement, the “Pizzagate” subreddit was started by a group of Trump-supporting internet sleuths who were attempting to use WikiLeaks’ leaked Podesta emails to connect the Clintons and John Podesta to the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. That said, when the Podesta emails failed to reveal a “smoking gun” linkage, the sleuths instead turned their focus to mulitple “pizza” references in Podesta’s emails which then led to the speculation that those “pizza” references must be code for something far more sinister.
According to the Washington Post, the “Pizzagate” sleuths are convinced that the “secret headquarters of a child sex-trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton and members of her inner circle” is located in the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza shop called the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria. The owner of the pizzeria, James Alefantis, says he has received numerous death threats over the past couple of weeks and has been forced to go to the FBI for protection.
It has also led to some very real harassment of the people caught up in the theory, including the owner of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in the District, James Alefantis. Alefantis has received hundreds of death threats over the past couple of weeks, he told the New York Times this week, after Pizzagate enthusiasts decided that his restaurant was the secret headquarters of a child sex-trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton and members of her inner circle.
None of the wildly accusatory claims are true. Alefantis told the Times that he asked Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, YouTube and the FBI to help him stop the spread of the conspiracy theory, which uses photos of his own kids as “evidence”
According to the New York Times, Alefantis first heard of Pizzagate after he started receiving threatening messages on Instagram and Facebook. Aside from some friendships with prominent democratic insiders like David Brock and Tony Podesta, Alefantis told the Times he’s not sure how this conspiracy theory got linked to his business.
None of it was true. While Mr. Alefantis has some prominent Democratic friends in Washington and was a supporter of Mrs. Clinton, he has never met her, does not sell or abuse children, and is not being investigated by law enforcement for any of these claims. He and his 40 employees had unwittingly become real people caught in the middle of a storm of fake news.
“From this insane, fabricated conspiracy theory, we’ve come under constant assault,” said Mr. Alefantis, 42, who was once in a relationship with David Brock, a provocative former right-wing journalist who became an outspoken advocate for Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Alefantis suspects those relationships may have helped to make him a target. “I’ve done nothing for days but try to clean this up and protect my staff and friends from being terrorized,” he said.
Mr. Alefantis mingles with other Washington chefs and his establishment helped him to be named No. 49 in GQ magazine’s 50 most powerful people in Washington in 2012. His customers include some high-powered locals, such as Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta, whom Mr. Alefantis knows casually. Mr. Alefantis and Mr. Brock, who is the founder of Media Matters for America, a website that tracks press coverage critical of the Clintons and works to debunk misinformation in the conservative press, broke up five years ago.
While WaPo says the Pizzagate sleuths have failed to uncover any actual evidence of their accusations, the dismissal of their efforts by the media only seems to be strengthening their resolve.
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