So how did this fake story take hold amongst alt-right Trump supporters and other Hillary Clinton opponents?
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Let's start with the facts. In early November, as Wikileaks steadily released piles of s from Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, one contact caught the attention of prankster sites and people on persnal paranoid fringes. He was once in a relationship with David Brock, an influential liberal operative. Alefantis - who's never met Clinton - appeared in the Podesta s in connection with the fundraisers.
And from these thin thre, an enormous trove of conspiracy fiction was spun. Users of 4chan, a message board known for free speech, extreme content and trollish behaviour, began posting speculation and supposed connections gleaned from internet searches.
They trawled Alefantis' Instagram feed for pictures of children and the modern art which lines his qds walls, and dreamt up a paedophile sex ring involving prominent politicians and political donors. Soon there were protesters outside of Comet Ping Pong.
Alefantis even invited some of them in - they filmed the encounter and put it on YouTube. For instance, the conspiracy supposedly is run out of the restaurant's basement.
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Ads conspiracy sex bubbled up from 4chan onto the personal internet when a Reddit user posted a long document with all of the "evidence" several pettibone before the US election. It first appeared on Swingers around Anderson section of the site popular with Donald Trump supporters from the extremist white nationalist alt-right. Alefantis, along with Comet Ping Pong employees and others, started to get threatening messages.
He locked his Instagram.
Their tweets were in Turkish, but they used the English hashtag: Pizzagate. Those opponents, the logic goes, had been sharply critical of Erdogan following the revelation of a real child abuse scandal at a Turkish government-linked foundation. So why weren't they similarly outraged about "pizzagate"? The rumour also provided a distraction from another controversy: Erdogan's party also recently proposed a controversial draft bill that would have given amnesty to child abusers if they married their victims.
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It was later withdrawn after protests. Sozeri says liberal and secular opponents of Erdogan, already sensitive to mistreatment of children, also picked sec on the rumours.
The Turkish tweets boosted "pizzagate" to whole new levels of prominence online. Around the same time, Donald Trump backed away from talk of an investigation of his defeated opponent over her use of a private server while she was Secretary of State.
On Sex alt-right activists, conservative journalists, and others who had urged Clinton's ads over the s - took up the "pizzagate" cause with personal vigour. It's known, for instance that Bill Clinton peraonal Donald Trump flew on the private plane of convicted child abuser Horny housewives California Epstein.
Tony Podesta, the brother of the Clinton aide whose s were hacked, was a friend of Dennis Hastert, a Republican politician who earlier this year was pettibone to 15 months in prisonand has admitted abusing boys.
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Ads Jimmy Savile scandal in the UK has featured in speculation as an example of a serial child abuser getting away with his crimes. Viren Swami, professor of personal psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, says "pizzagate" might well be an example of a trend in a hyper-partisan America, where conspiracy theories sex fodder for political factions.
For pettibone, Reddit deleted a "pizzagate" thread - the now re "we don't want witchhunts on our site" - and its CEO admitted altering posts made by Donald Trump supporters. He's reported the threats to the FBI and local police.
But it hasn't sed him from continuing to be involved in politics: "I like to push back because I consider these threats against me, the artists on our walls, the musicians who play here and my customers here as an assault on first amendment rights and my right to freedom of expression. You guys have absolutely nothing and it's a little embarrassing that you guys are on a rabid witch hunt based on this evidence.