Celebrity

WTF is 'Pizzagate' & Why Do People Think Chrissy Teigen is Involved in a Pedophile Ring?

In one of the first 'WTF?' moments of 2018...

chrissy teigen john legend luna legend walking in london

(Photo: Getty Images)

On December 31, my forever fave Chrissy Teigen took to Twitter to share that she’d been accused of participating in the (already debunked) ‘Pizzagate’ pedophile ring conspiracy theory. Yes, you read that right—because of course the dumpster fire that was the year 2017 couldn’t go softly into the night.

chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate

On December 27, self-described investigative journalist Liz Crokin shared photos of Chrissy’s sweet one-year-old babe, Luna Legend, dressed as a hot dog, Alice in Wonderland and a pineapple, imploring her followers to “note the [pizza] emoji,” with the hashtag #followthewhiterabbit.

Wondering WTF that all means? Allow me to break it down.

According to the Washington Postthe discredited Pizzagate conspiracy theory suggested that Hillary Clinton was the mastermind behind a widespread child-trafficking ring. Remember how, right before the U.S. election in 2016, FBI Director James Comey announced he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state? He made the announcement on October 28, 2016, and said it was because of new emails found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, New York congressman and estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Conspiracy theorists started to read these emails with a fine-toothed comb, eventually fabricating the notion that anything to do with food contained in the emails was actually code for child trafficking.

On October 30, 2016, the now-suspended Twitter account @DavidGoldbergNY tweeted that Weiner’s emails “point to a pedophilia ring and ­@HillaryClinton is at the center.” It was retweeted more than 6,000 times, and the rumour quickly spread to other discussion sites like 4chan and Reddit.

As the rumour gained traction, the accusations against Clinton seemed to blend with details from emails sent by Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, whose personal email account had been hacked by a “cyber espionage group” possibly affiliated with the Russian government earlier that year. The emails showed that Podesta frequently dined at a restaurant called Comet Ping Pong, which led to rampant speculation across alt-right message boards that the pizzeria was the headquarters for Clinton’s so-called pedophile ring.

At the time, #Pizzagate started to trend on Twitter, though only some of the posts came from real users (the rest were Tweeted by bots programmed to use the hashtag). This was another way that anti-Clinton hackers could shape the conversation/give credence to the frankly bizarre accusations. The Washington Post spoke to Jonathan Albright, an assistant professor of media analytics at Elon University in North Carolina, who said that using bots in this way creates “the online crowds that are providing legitimacy” for the theory. Essentially, the amount of content under the hashtag—real or not—adds fuel to the very real fire, which has very real consequences. In June, North Carolina resident Edgar Welch traveled to D.C. armed with a rifle and revolver to, he said, investigate the restaurant. Thankfully, the shop’s clientele was able to evacuate the building before Welch started shooting and no one was hurt.

You’re probs confused about how the heck this has to do with the Teigen-Legend tribe. Although none of these claims have been corroborated—in fact, prominent Pizzagate supporter Alex Jones apologized for his involvement (which is not something he does often)—Pizzagate believers still insist that Democrats and members of Hollywood, like Teigen, remain secret members of this child trafficking ring. 

When Crokin shared those images of sweet lil Luna, she suggested a link between Teigen’s use of the pizza emoji and the supposed ring. Apparently, Luna’s Alice costume is even more telling because some, like Crokin, believe the Lewis Caroll novel makes references to pedophilia.

That was a wild ride, huh? Gratefully, Teigen has never been one to avoid speaking her mind. Since the initial tweet went viral, Teigen directly confronted Crokin and a few other users who chimed in with questions about her involvement in pizzagate. Amidst the dispute, Teigen set her Twitter account to private, preventing the embedding of her tweets, but here are screengrabs of what the model said.

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Hey @jack, how the eff did Crokin get a little blue check?!

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Then, Twitter *finally* de-verified the account.

chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate

In response to Teigen’s tweets, Crokin tweeted:

To which Tegien said:

chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate

That’s when Papa Legend chimed in, warning Crokin that the couple will take legal action if necessary.

Teigen concluded with a classic Chrissy sign-off, reminding us all why we love her so…

chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate

And she briefly explained why she went private with her account.

chrissy teigen tweet pizzagate

In case you still don’t get how tf Pizzagate even happened (same, same), this thread sums it up quite nicely.

Since losing her verification, Crokin has continued to tweet defamatory claims about Teigen and others with no type of bar imposed on her use of the social media platform. This is likely due to Twitter’s extremely pro-free speech stance, which has caused the platform problems in the past.

While Teigen seems appeased with the steps Twitter has taken to delegitimize Crokin’s claims, I’m not sure we should let @jack and his team off the hook just yet. The platform might say it cares about preventing slander and abuse, but those statements are meaningless unless Twitter actually stops providing a space for this type of behaviour. But frankly, Chrissy Teigen getting slandered by #Pizzagate conspiracy theorists isn’t about the first amendment at all. If the last year taught us anything, it should be that there’s a huge—and dangerous—difference between free speech and hate speech. This is the latter.

Related:
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