This past Sunday, a man who said he was investigating the "Pizzagate" conspiracy fired a rifle in a Washington pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong, bringing a fringe and false conspiracy theory that had existed in the corners of the Internet crashing into reality. Now, in another surreal twist, the popular Brooklyn pizza hotspot Roberta's has been dragged into Pizzagate, and is receiving death and torture threats.
According to DNA Info, on December 1, a Roberta's employee told police that when they answered the phone, a voice on the other end said, "You are going to bleed and be tortured." Another caller the next day issued similar threats and asked about the restaurant's connection to Pizzagate. Comet Ping Pong had also received threatening phone calls leading up to Sunday's incident.
For those catching up, Pizzagate is a bizarre internet conspiracy theory that alleges Hillary Clinton and her surrogates were running a child sex abuse ring out of a basement complex at Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, DC. The theory began when WikiLeaks published a collection of emails from Clinton Campaign advisor John Podesta, which included an email from Podesta to Comet Ping Pong inquiring about hosting a Clinton fundraiser. Through various mental leaps—involving what some believed were Satanic symbols and "spirit cooking"—the group of online conspiracy theorists, seriously or trolling, arrived at the conclusion that Clinton was running a child sex ring from the restaurant.
The false accusation spread online in various far- and alt-right circles, retweeted and spread by both believers and bots based out of Cyprus, Vietnam, and the Czech Republic. Even one of Donald Trump's transition team members spread the fake rumor, which Trump himself has refuted.
In a YouTube video "discussing the Clinton pedophelia [sic] network," Alex Jones of the far-right website InfoWars said, "When I think about all the children Hillary Clinton has personally murdered and chopped up and raped, I have zero fear standing up against her. Yeah, you heard me right… I just can't hold back the truth anymore. Hillary Clinton is one of the most vicious serial killers the world has ever seen."
Roberta's was then pulled into the false conspiracy when a (now-deleted) YouTube video surfaced that featured screen shots from Roberta's social media accounts. Roberta's often uses heavy metal imagery for their shirt designs and logos; for instance, one Roberta's shirt reads "Eat pizza, not people" (which, interestingly, would seem to refute whatever it is the conspiracy theorists are trying to say).
When the video began to circulate online, other conspiracy theorists pointed out that the Clintons had eaten at the restaurant in 2012. Social media then spread the false allegations.
MUNCHIES has reached out to Roberta's for comment but has not yet received a response.
Roberta's has been at the forefront of the New York and national artisanal pizza scenes for some time, and is a jewel of Brooklyn's restaurant community. Pizza lovers everywhere will agree—please leave Roberta's, and pizza in general, out of your political nutjobbery.