YouTuber Shane Dawson went viral this week with a claim that Chuck E. Cheese’s mixes pizza slices and serves mismatched pizzas to its customers.
In the video, Dawson went to a Chuck E. Cheese’s location, ordered two pizzas, and seemed to show that they were mismatched. The implication was that the chain is reusing pizza slices that had previously been served to other customers and assembling them with other slices that weren’t cooked at the same time as part of the same pizza.
Now, the children’s entertainment chain has responded with a statement, strongly denying the charge.
“The claims made in this video about Chuck E. Cheese’s and our pizza are unequivocally false,” the company said in a statement to BuzzFeed News and other media outlets.
“No conspiracies here – our pizzas are made to order and we prepare our dough fresh in restaurant, which means that they’re not always perfectly uniform in shape, but always delicious.”
A former Chuck E. Cheese’s employee told BuzzFeed that the mismatched edges are the result of “shrinkage” of the pizza pies in the oven, as well as irregularly shaped cutting tools that don’t always go all the way through.
Dawson launched his YouTube channel in 2008, when he was only 19-years-old, and in recent years has focused on conspiracy theories. Dawson now has 20 million YouTube subscribers, and the Chuck E. Cheese’s video has been viewed over 14 million times. Dawson’s video was over 90 minutes long, and also included commentary from the host over whether Chuck E. Cheese’s encourages children to develop gambling addictions later in life.
Chuck E. Cheese’s was founded in San Jose, California, in 1977, and has since grown into a national chain of arcade/restaurants. The chain also features an animatronic stage show, although it began phasing those out last year, as well as the mouse-costumed Chuck E. Cheese character, whose real name is Charles Entertainment Cheese.
The character’s surprisingly dark backstory, according to a children’s book discovered by Insider, is that he was an orphaned mouse who celebrates children’s birthdays because he never knew his own birthday. He would even sometimes sleep in a pizzeria.
A famous Reddit post from several years ago by a former employee detailed a memorable brawl in a South Florida Chuck E. Cheese’s location, involving an impatient customer, thrown soda cups, a large pizza knife, and the memorable phrase “this is when I begin to notice something is wrong in the world of children’s pizza and entertainment.”