The Harlem Shake internet meme is more than four years old and involves dancing stupidly when the beat drops during an electronic dance song. Pizzagate is a more recent conspiracy theory alleging that Democratic-aligned elites ran a pedophilia ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizzeria. And on Wednesday, as the Federal Communications Commission prepared to vote on a resolution to repeal net neutrality rules, they converged in a bizarre video featuring FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Pai starred in the video for the right-wing news site The Daily Caller, approximating his best rendition of the Harlem Shake with a number of Daily Caller staffers, and ostensibly proving that the internet will survive just fine after net neutrality would be repealed. Dancing to Ajit Pai’s right is Daily Caller staffer Martina Markota, who just a few months ago peddled Pizzagate conspiracy theories in a since-deleted video on her personal website.
“This is not something I’m making up because I’m trying to, you know, put in my fantasy version of what’s going on and interject it into these email scandals, this is independently of the campaign I know what cheese pizza is,” Markota said in the deleted video, which was viewed by Gizmodo.
Twitter user and comedian Alexander Smith spliced together footage from the Daily Caller Harlem Shake video with Markota’s Pizzagate rant in a video posted on early Thursday morning, so that exists. Markota, the FCC, and The Daily Caller did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A few hours after publication, in an email sent to VICE News by Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll, Markota denied any affiliation with or support for Pizzagate conspiracy theories.
"I did not at any point in this video suggest that the claims against John Podesta and other Democratic Party officials are true," Markota said. "I did, however, explain the claims that were being made. I also made the point that 'Cheese Pizza' is a codeword used by pedophiles online."