Pizzagate—the super-realistic, not-at-all-absurd conspiracy theory that posits that Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, and other heavyweight Democrat operatives were secretly running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington, DC pizzeria—just won't go away.
One Friday, Infowars host Alex Jones, who for months did seemingly everything in his power to propagate the hoax, disavowed his involvement in Pizzagate. Jones went so far as to publicly apologize for "any negative impact our commentaries had" on the owner of the pizza joint or his employees.
Why would Jones—the unhinged far-right radio host who claims the Sandy Hook shootings were staged and that 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing were cooked up by the US government—step away from Pizzagate?
Jones's sudden urge to distance himself from Pizzagate probably has something to do with the federal charges against one Edgar Maddison Welch.
As you will undoubtedly recall, back in December, Welch fired an assault weapon several times in Comet Ping Pong, the DC pizzeria unfortunately implicated in Pizzagate. The gunman showed up at Comet Ping Pong in a self-proclaimed attempt to "investigate" the alleged sex ring and—what?—free all the poor children he presumed to be enslaved behind the mozzarella and tomato sauce.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, but Welch was charged with two violations of federal and local gun law, and pled guilty just last Friday. As part of a plea deal, Welch stated that his actions were "motivated, at least in part, by unfounded rumors about a child sex-trafficking ring that was being perpetrated at Comet and that involved nationally-known political figures."
What's more, since December, evidence has been mounting that Welch derived his crackpot theories about Pizzagate directly from Jones. In a New York Times interview, Welch said he was a Jones listener, and, in papers filed in the lawsuit, Welch is alleged to have shared a YouTube video telling people to "Watch PIZZAGATE: The Bigger Picture," a reference to a video that ran on Jones's website.
And now, Jones is mysteriously having second thoughts about the veracity of Pizzagate, which he vehemently supported not very long ago. His mea culpa included this spread-the-blame statement: "We relied on third-party accounts of alleged activities and conduct at the restaurant. We also relied on accounts of reporters who are no longer with us… To my knowledge today, neither Mr. Alefantis, nor his restaurant Comet Ping Pong, were involved in any human trafficking as was part of the theories about Pizzagate that were being written about in the media outlets and which we commented upon."
Too little too late? Undoubtedly, that is what James Alefantis—Comet Ping Pong's owner—and his family, customers, neighbors, and employees are thinking. They suffered through months of crazy accusations and harassment, largely thanks to Jones and his fans. Unfortunately, one of those fans is the president of the United States, who has praised Jones and called his reputation "amazing."
Jones's apology seemingly did little to convince other conspiracy-lovers that Pizzagate is a non-story. This weekend, a rally of sorts was held by those still inexplicably willing to consider themselves Pizzagate truthers, who continue to call for an investigation into the matter.
Will Sommer, a journalist and blogger who attended the Pizzagate rally over the weekend, tweeted that many of the people he encountered at the rally were in no way dissuaded by Jones disowning Pizzagate and that they believed "if anything, his 'silencing' is proof of a broader conspiracy."
If the real-life implications of this shitshow weren't just so disturbing, we might be tempted to suggest that Jones blame it on the chemtrails.