Have you been wondering what “Pizzagate” is? Well, Sunday afternoon, a North Carolina man armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle walked into Comet Ping Pong, a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., to investigate a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton. That theory is known as “Pizzagate.” The man, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, ended up shooting the gun while in the restaurant, but police think he did so after everyone else inside had left, The Washington Post reports.
Welch has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, but police say there were no reported injuries.
The restaurant is one of many in the neighborhood that was involved in multiple conspiracy theories and fake news stories that spread online during the election. Those who own and work at the restaurant have been attacked on social media and even received death threats. Conspiracy theorists believe that the Clintons, along with others, were running a child sex ring out of the restaurant. BuzzFeed News breaks down the spread of the “Pizzagate” story, and needless to say, there is no evidence whatsoever for these claims.
James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong, said in a statement: “What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences. I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today, and stop promoting these falsehoods right away.”
The lesson here is to be smart about the news you consume and share. There’s a lot of fake news out there. In fact, fake news was more popular than real news toward the end of the election, as we learned a few weeks ago. Check your facts! And seriously, do not bring a gun anywhere because of a conspiracy theory you read.