Washington, DC, pizzaria Comet Ping Pong got swept up into an alt-right conspiracy theory last year when leaked emails from Hillary Clinton campaign manger John Podesta seemed to connect the DNC and several restaurants in the nation's capital to a fictitious child-sex ring. The rumor was almost immediately debunked, but not before an armed gunman showed up at the pizzaria.
Now "Pizzagate" has heated up again, as reports are coming in that nearly a dozen protestors have gathered outside Comet Ping Pong on Thursday, one day before President-elect Trump's inauguration.
Demonstrators are carrying Westboro-like placards declaring "homo sex is sin," and "Cry to God/Jesus saves." One man yelled over a loudspeaker, “Wake up and turn from your sin” and told a woman to "hush up" when she tried to shout back.
Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis is gay—though we're not sure what that has to do with Clinton, the election or child prostitution. Then again, do these people need a legitimate reason?
“From this insane, fabricated conspiracy theory, we’ve come under constant assault,” Alefantis told The New York Times in December. “I’ve done nothing for days but try to clean this up and protect my staff and friends from being terrorized.”
Grub Street reports police were on the scene this afternoon, though the protestors did not disburse.
Attacks on the restaurant have been fueled by misleading stories that present conspiracy nuts as credible sources.
"YouTube videos taken from inside Comet Ping Pong, the sexual and macabre art commissioned for the restaurant’s promotional material, and the Clinton campaign’s ties to billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and Anthony Weiner have also fueled online calls for an FBI investigation," reads a piece in The Washington Times. "Mr. Epstein is a convicted sex-offender and Mr. Weiner is under an active FBI investigation for illicit text messages he sent to a teenager."
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover additional security costs for the pizzaria in light of the ongoing harassment.