— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 5, 2016
During the presidential campaign, some elements of the alt-right began fueling the conspiracy that Comet Ping Pong was in fact the site of a pedophilia ring used by high-ranking members of the Democratic Party, dubbing that supposed conspiracy “Pizzagate.”
The conspiracy is untrue and easily disprovable. For example, the sex ring is supposed to be run out of the restaurant’s basement, but the owner told the BBC, “We don’t even have a basement.”
The fake news began proliferating on websites like 4chan and Reddit, especially a Reddit forum frequented by Trump supporters and the alt-right. The Reddit community “Pizzagate,” created for the purpose of discussing the supposed conspiracy, was banned recently because individuals began posting personal and confidential information there.
On his Facebook account, on which he goes by Maddison Welch, the would-be shooter likes both InfoWars and its host Alex Jones. The website has published innumerable stories about Pizzagate including videos alleging that “Pizzagate is global,” calling the “pedophile scandal” a “worldwide network.” Jones himself has tweeted about it to his nearly 500,000 followers as recently as Sunday. A Google search with the words “Alex Jones pizzagate” returns about 190,000 results.
Following the incident over the weekend, Jones—who frequently pushed the Pizzagate theory on his site—released a new video alleging that Welch is part of another conspiracy.