Also: Gateway Pundit scrubs report
From the Washington Post:
Several dozen people assembled outside the White House Saturday to demand an investigation into the unfounded Internet rumor known as “Pizzagate.”
Wearing T-shirts and holding banners defending the conspiracy theory — which falsely linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring operating out of a D.C. pizza parlor — protesters took turns climbing onto an elevated stage in Lafayette Square to demand politicians and mainstream news media take their claims seriously.
The conspiracy theory emerged out of John Podesta’s leaked emails posted online by Wikileaks ahead of the US election. Wikileaks used Twitter to suggest (falsely) that the emails showed that John’s brother Tony Podesta was involved in bizarre rituals in which “blood, sperm and breastmilk” were ingested, and this inspired others to look for paedophilic-related code words in other Podesta emails. Interest in the conspiracy waned after a man showed up at the pizza parlour with a gun, demanding explanations; and just a few days ago, Alex Jones issued a formal statement repudiating Info Wars’ coverage of the story – presumably at the behest of lawyers for the restaurant.
The true believers who assembled outside the White House yesterday were led by one David Seaman, who was profiled by the Daily Beast ahead of the rally:
Seaman spent much of the last decade as a self-promotion guru, selling secrets on how to “attract buzz” and writing a how-to book on becoming “a publicity whore,” after turbulent stints as an intern at Jezebel and contributor at The Huffington Post were abruptly cut short.
He even staged a “Free Paris Hilton” protest to build his personal brand, and once proclaimed he “would protest gravity if I thought it was going to give me buzz.”
The article notes that the protest received a boost when Michael Flynn’s son Tweeted his support for Seaman on 9 March.
There are various clips from the protest on YouTube and Twitter, including some that give names of speakers. Among others, there was a woman who calls herself “Honeybee: The Truth Fairy”; one Titus Frost (tagline: “Exposing illuminati, #Anonymous, Expect Us…”); a certain “Pizzagate Howie”, who told the story of Becki Percy, a young woman who says she was subjected to organised abuse in the UK before escaping to California; Tony Kightly, of “OfficialDCRallyfest dot com”; and Archer Sierra of “Dark City Media”. Present in the crowd was a rival conspiricist named Nathan Stolpman, who claims to have “exposed” Seaman, and Seaman denounced him from the platform.
Above the stage was a banner that read “Our Children Matter”, and there was a link to a website called allchildrenmatter.net. The staging also announced the “Terms of Surrender” for those accused: “Release all children – Surrender and confess to authorities – Beg for forgiveness”.
Clips of the event and online comments show that attendees placed “Pizzagate” alongside broader conspiracies about MK-Ultra, “banksters”, and such. At least one speaker was crude, shouting about “fucking children”, while others were pious, and Seaman himself knelt in prayer at one point.
A number of interesting comments and images were posted to Twitter by Will Sommer, who reports for The Hill. According to Sommer, the crowd became restless when one speaker turned to the subject of “apocryphal Christian ‘lesser gods’ angels as ‘God’s scientists'”, and there was controversy when another explained that “pedo-sadism” is inherent to Zionism. In due course, speakers drifted into areas such as “father’s rights, family court, pro se litigants, American Bar Association”.
Following the rally, the conservative website Gateway Pundit ran a piece under the headline “#MAGA Vets Rally Alongside #PizzaGate Protesters in Washington, D.C.”, by the site’s accredited White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich. However, although there was indeed a pro-Trump rally nearby, “alongside” falsely implies a joint event when in fact the two rallies were separate (although a Pizzagate attendee was arrested after allegedly attempting to steal a microphone from the Trump rally).
The Gateway Pundit article took an agnostic line on the allegations, only going so far as to say that the pizza parlour is “very creepy and does not seem child-friendly at all.” However, the site has since scrubbed its post, perhaps wary of whatever legal pressure had induced Alex Jones to issue his recent statement.
UPDATE: Charles Johnson has more at LGF.
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