The Comet Ping Pong pizza pedophile conspiracy theories epitomize the term conspiracy theory: a story based on little evidence, spurious connections, and "facts" that are completely made up. Debunking the Pizzagate conspiracy theory proves to be fairly easy, as most of the "facts" behind this controversy came from the same 4chan geniuses who gave the world the Chester Bennington pedophilia conspiracy. The Pizzagate conspiracy began when Wikileaks leaked emails from Hillary Clinton staffer John Podesta. Among his emails were messages between Podesta and James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor. The James Alefantis conspiracy stemmed from his own work with Democratic fundraisers and his ex-boyfriend, another prominent Democrat.
Thus, when the Pizzagate emails arrived, bottom-feeders on Reddit and 4chan spun a (dumb) story that Comet pizza was the site of a child sex ring. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Comet pizza sex ring scandal took off, igniting conspiracies about Barack Obama, the Clintons, and even talk of Satanist involvement. Government officials from the US all the way to Turkey pushed the theory as fact, leading to one armed citizen actually walking into Comet Ping Pong and opening fire. While thankfully no one was hurt by this debacle, the same cannot be said for human dignity.
The Basement Thesis Is Malarkey
Conspiracy theory: Believers of the Pizzagate conspiracy assert that a Democratic donor named James Alefantis is a pedophile, operating an underage sex ring from the basement of his pizza parlor, Comet Ping Pong. As evidence, theorists cite photos from Alefantis's Instagram showing kids in the restaurant along with modern art he hangs in the establishment.
Why it's nonsense: No basement exists at Comet Ping Pong. With no basement to speak of, the entire plot of the conspiracy - a man with connections to the Democratic Party runs a child sex ring out of his basement - really falls apart.
A Fake Re-Dubbed Video Circulated By Turkish Media
Conspiracy theory: As the theory picked up steam in the United States, it also found traction in Turkey, where a whole new wave of "evidence" about Pizzagate came to light. According to conspiracy theorists, then Vice-President Joe Biden admitted to sexually abusing a senator's daughter, with even a video to going along to support the claims.
Why it's nonsense: The video that supposedly shows Biden's confession was actually a swearing in ceremony for Senator Chris Coons. Originally, the video was in English but Turkish media outlets dubbed it into Turkish to claim Biden abused children which he obviously wasn't.
There Is No Link To Hillary Clinton
Conspiracy theory: Conspiracy theorists believe the Comet Ping Pong child sex ring reaches the highest rings of power in the Democratic Party. In fact, they claim it leads all the way to 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. As evidence for this, conspiracy theorists refer back to emails (always the emails) from campaign manager John Podesta after his account was hacked. Podesta exchanged emaild with James Alefantis, a frequent donor to the Democratic party and owner of pizza restaurant Comet Ping Pong; from there, an army of trolls, pranksters from 4chan, and Alt-Right Internet personalities attributed a wide variety of crimes and depraved acts to Alefantis and linked him with Clinton.
Why it's nonsense: The fact remains Alefantis has never met Hillary Clinton, and none of the leaked emails give any indication whatsoever that he did anything wrong. What's more, nothing links the pizza shop owner to Clinton aside from emails to one of her employees.
The Non-Existent Anthony Weiner Emails
Conspiracy theory: A major aspect of the Pizzagate conspiracy centers around the investigation of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner for soliciting a minor for sex. In the wake of the investigation, right-wing conspiracy theorists started spreading false links between Hillary Clinton and the accusations against Weiner. Theorists backed this up by saying Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, who announced her from divorce from Weiner as soon as the underage sex allegations became public, worked for the Clinton campaign.
Why it's nonsense: This evidence quite simply does not exist. Abedin and Clinton did not help Weiner try to seduce a minor. Furthermore, no evidence links the actions of Weiner to anyone other than himself. Any "evidence" of supposed connections come from anonymous sources on 4chan, extreme right-wing blogs, and white supremacist Twitter users without a shred of proof to their claims. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.