Pizzagate, Marina Abramovic, And Spirit Cooking Explained

Pizzagate, Marina Abramovic, and Spirit Cooking all made headlines amid the 2016 presidential election. Although the election is now over, and Donald Trump was named President-elect, a number of rumors involving Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman continue to persist.

In March 2016, an email account belonging to John Podesta, who was the chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, was breached. Seven months later, approximately 20,000 of those emails were published by WikiLeaks.

One email, in particular, raised red flags and prompted conspiracy theorists to claim John Podesta and Hillary Clinton were or are involved in satanic rituals.

The email, which was dated June 25, 2015, was reportedly written by Serbian-American performance artist Marina Abramovic and was addressed to John Podesta's brother Tony -- who is an art collector.

In the email, Marina told Tony she was "looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner," which she was hosting at her home. She also asked Tony if his brother would be joining them for the event.

Three days later, Tony forwarded Marina's email to John and asked him if he would be in town on the evening of the event.

The mention of Spirit Cooking was specifically alarming, as it appeared to refer to Marina Abramovic's limited-edition book Spirit Cooking with Essential Aphrodisiac Recipes, which was published in 1996 as a companion to her Spirit Cooking performances.

During her performances, Abramovic reportedly used pig blood to draw symbols and write her "recipes," which are admittedly unusual.

As reported by, the "ingredients" for Marina's recipes include bodily fluids such as breast milk, semen, and urine. They also seem to encourage forms of self-harm and mutilation.

Due to the unusual nature of the performances and the recipe book, Abramovic's work was criticized as being satanic. However, as reported by The Museum of Modern Art, the performances and recipe book were not meant to be taken literally. Instead, they were meant to "serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts."

In a recent interview with ArtNews, Marina Abramovic confirmed Spirit Cooking "is really more about spirituality and not anything else." She also explained that the dinner she referred to in the emails had nothing to do with her 1990s Spirit Cooking performances.

As discussed on the artist's Kickstarter page, the dinner was an incentive for pledging $10,000 to the Marina Abramovic Institute.

"A dinner night with Marina during which she will teach you and other backers at this level how to cook a series of traditional soups, which you will all enjoy together."
When asked why she mentioned Spirit Cooking in reference to the dinner, Marina said, "We just call things funny names, that's all."

Although Tony Podesta did attend the event, Abramovic confirmed his brother John turned down the invitation.

Marina Abramovic's Spirit Cooking email was not the only one to spark a conspiracy theory. A series of emails between Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis and John Podesta also raised red flags.

As reported by The New York Times, the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria has been the target of rumors and speculation for some time.

"Some posited the restaurant was part of a larger Democratic child trafficking ring, which was a theory long held by some conservative blogs."
The emails between Alefantis and Podesta, in which the men reportedly discussed campaign contributions, only fueled the controversy. In addition to "Pizzagate" discussions on 4Chan and Reddit, the rumors spread to fake news sites and social media outlets.

Conspiracy theorists point to questionable photos and "symbols" found on the Comet Ping Pong advertisements, menu, and website. As reported by, the Pizzagate allegations have never been proven, and the "symbols" were clearly taken out of context. However, rumors that the pizzeria is a front for a child sex trafficking ring, which is sanctioned by the Democratic party, continue to persist.

Marina Abramovic's Spirit Cooking email scandal and the Pizzagate scandal both accuse John Podesta and Hillary Clinton of knowingly supporting, if not participating in, disturbing rituals, including child sex trafficking. Although there is no tangible proof that any of the rumors are true, some people remain convinced there is a conspiracy.

[Featured Image by Vera Petruk/Shutterstock]