Yesterday, Washington D.C. police arrested 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch after Welch entered the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria with an assault rifle and fired at least one shot. Welch reportedly went to “self-investigate” unfounded rumors that Comet Ping Pong was part of a child molestation ring involving Hillary Clinton, but few news outlets mentioned that the pizzeria owner James Alefantis is a gay man. Thus, the attack and the rumors surrounding Alefantis’ pizzeria are just the latest consequences of the long, tired history of anti-gay bigots linking homosexuality with child molestation. Sigh…
The Pizzagate rumors before yesterday’s attack also have a political motivation seeing as Alefantis had helped fundraise for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Alefantis’ ex-boyfriend David Brock is also the founder of Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog group that constantly calls out FOX News and other conservative media outlets for faulty, inflammatory reporting. Just today, Media Matters announced that it would start focusing on exposing fake news… y’know… like Pizzagate.
Although the Pizzagate rumors have been soundly debunked, they continue to proliferate on social media with Facebook reviews accusing the pizza shop of having images of child molestation on its walls, and videos like the one below using tacky Instagram images and tasteless joke comments as “proof” of the pizza shop’s pederasty. While we were loathe to share it, it gives you a good idea of the mindset of the Pizzagate conspiracy theorists.
Alefantis and other nearby business owners told The Washington Post that they have received death threats over the Pizzagate rumors. If yesterday’s attack is any indication, the linking of gay business owners to child molestation could end in deadly violence.
It’s no surprise really: right-wing politicians and Christian conservatives have long used talk of gays recruiting, indoctrinating, grooming, and molesting kids as justifications for denying gay people their civil rights (including the right to raise children) and excusing violence against gay people.