Pizzagate: An Example of How False Allegations Have Real Consequences

Sometimes a pizza store is really just a pizza store.


If you watch the news or use social media in almost any form, then chances are you’ve heard about “Pizzagate.” A play on the term “watergate” which implied a masterful cover up involving government officials, Pizzagate refers to a conspiracy theory that involves a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant, the child sex trade, and hidden codes inside government emails. Specifically, the emails of former Hillary Clinton 2016 Campaign Chairman John Podesta.


In the months before the election, Wikileaks released a vast number of emails, many of which were from the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and her associates. While most of the media attention was focused on policies, legal violations and even disparaging remarks made about others in the party, there were a number of people who claimed to have found clues alluding to a very dark secret.


A group of users on message boards like Reddit and 4chan decided that Podesta’s seemingly innocuous emails about gatherings with friends where pizza was served were in fact coded messages about pedophilia. The references to pizza were determined to be references to having sex with minors. All in all, it was decided that these emails contained complex messages about parties where Podesta and his friends got together and engaged in sexual activity with child sex slaves.


Horrifyingly, the unfounded allegations spread through the internet like wildfire. Fake news sites caught on and spread the information even further. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, there was no social media format unscathed. The conspiracy theory was everywhere and seemed to be quickly developing a core group that believed every word. Falsehood became fact in many people’s minds despite the complete lack of evidence to substantiate the claims.


The theory grew. Soon everyone who was anyone in Podesta’s circle of influence was alleged to be involved.


This was how Comet Ping Pong, the D.C. based pizzeria came to be labelled as the house of horrors where the child sex slaves were allegedly held. James Alefantis, the owner of Comet and several other restaurants, is known to have previously been in a relationship with David Brock. ¬†Brock, who is the founder of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, also headed up a pro-Clinton group. Because Brock and Podesta both know Alefantis, and have eaten at Comet Ping Pong, it was labelled as the hub of Podesta’s “pizza” parties.


As if the slander and false allegations weren’t bad enough, employees in nearby restaurants began to receive threatening phone calls. One hacker claimed to have found a menu for child sex services online when hacking the menu of another restaurant called WeThePizza, and provided examples of the child pornography he allegedly discovered there to others on the forum. In the end, one man decided that the appropriate course of action would be to investigate the claims himself and set the child slaves free.


28-year-old Edgar M. Welch of Salisbury, N.C. arrived at Comet Ping Pong armed with multiple guns. He entered the restaurant and fired several rounds. Thankfully no one was hurt. According to police reports, he told officers that he was armed in order to help rescue the children. However, once he discovered that there were no child sex slaves being held on the property, he surrendered peacefully.


Unfortunately, as a result of these false allegations, numerous people’s names were slandered, several employees were threatened, email accounts and websites were hacked and one man is probably going to prison for a very long time for armed assault. It’s heartbreaking when you stop to consider the widespread effect that a few small lies can have and how much damage can come of telling a few falsehoods. Both major presidential candidates were the subject of false news reports this year.


As experienced Michigan sex crime defense attorneys, we have represented countless falsely accused people over the decades. Nothing is more tragic than watching someone struggle against false accusations and lies that are believed without any evidence to back them up. So if you or a loved one have been falsely accused of molesting a child or committing any crime in Michigan, you are going to need a highly skilled defense attorney on your team. The right attorney is critical. Call us today at 866-766-5245. We can help you.


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