Pizzagate Protest: D.C. Rally Demands Investigation, Media Largely Ignores It

Pizzagate Protest: D.C. Rally Demands Investigation, Media Largely Ignores It

A Pizzagate protest in Washington called for an investigation into an alleged child sex ring taking place at a local pizzeria and involving high-ranking members of the Democratic party — a demonstration that was almost totally ignored by the media that have largely declared the theory as bunk.

The Pizzagate conspiracy theory took root shortly after the 2016 presidential election, when a user on the image-sharing board 4chan claimed to have unlocked a secret code being used in emails leaked from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief. Internet sleuths seized on some odd wording, concluding that Podesta and other high-ranking Democrats were part of a child sex ring that operated out of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington.

The theory has largely been ridiculed in media and considered debunked by all but the most devoted believers, but this small group has continued to press for an investigation and on Saturday held a rally outside the White House in Washington, D.C.

As the Washington Post noted, there were a series of speakers calling for a Pizzagate investigation.

“Wearing T-shirts and holding banners defending the conspiracy theory — which falsely linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring operating out of a D.C. pizza parlor — protesters took turns climbing onto an elevated stage in Lafayette Square to demand politicians and mainstream news media take their claims seriously.”

Aside from the Washington Post, there was little media coverage of the Pizzagate rally, which appeared to draw only a few dozen people. Many media outlets have pulled back from covering the alleged scandal, as there has been virtually no evidence to support the wild claims.

The Pizzagate rally also suffered from a bit of unfortunate timing for those who believe the conspiracy theory. On Friday, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch pleaded guilty to weapons and assault charges for a December incident in which he entered Comet Ping Pong with a rifle and demanded to see the basement, an area where conspiracy theorists believe the child abuse was taking place.

That guilty plea coincided with one of the most prominent backers of the Pizzagate theory publicly disavowing it as fake. Alex Jones, the popular conspiracy theorist who contends that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the government and claims the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, said on his radio broadcast that Pizzagate is not real and apologized for his reporting on it.

Jones publicly apologized to James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong, while reading from a prepared statement.

“To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis, nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking, as was part of the theories about Pizzagate that were being written about in many media outlets and which we commented upon,” Jones said (via the New York Times). “We apologize to the extent our commentaries could be construed as negative statements about Mr. Alefantis or Comet Ping Pong, and we hope that anyone else involved in commenting on Pizzagate will do the same thing.”

But demonstrators at the Pizzagate rally in Washington were not swayed by Alex Jones changing sides. Reporter Will Sommer noted that many people at the rally believed that Jones was silenced through threats by people in power, and said his apology was even more evidence that an investigation was needed.

Despite the rally in Washington, there is no indication that either the FBI or any local law enforcement agencies are investigating the allegations made in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.

[Featured Image by Jose Luis Magana/AP Images]