‘Pizzagate’: Elon Musk is now boosting the year-old conspiracy theory

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/Reuters/FILE

FILE PHOTO: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pauses during an event in conversation with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, Britain, Thursday, November 2, 2023. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

New York

Elon Musk boosted the dangerous year-old “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory Monday in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, just days after being heavily criticized and facing an advertiser exodus following his embrace of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

In a post Monday, an X user tried to link the founder of Media Matters — the progressive media watchdog that last week identified big-brand ads running alongside pro-Nazi content on X — to the owner of “Pizzagate -the restaurant.” Musk replied: “Weird.” In replying, Musk drew attention to the post from his more than 160 million followers on X.

Pizzagate is an anti-Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory that emerged on 4chan, Reddit, Twitter and other platforms in the final days before the 2016 US presidential election. Believers imagined a pedophiliac allegedly run out of a pizza shop in Washington, DC that involved Clinton and other Democrats.

The wildly false claims were behind self-styled “investigator” Edgar Maddison Welch’s decision in December of that year to fire an assault rifle inside the restaurant. (No one was hurt, and Welch later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.)

It’s just the latest conspiracy theory Musk has drawn attention to using X. Musk last week agreed with an anti-Semitic post on his social media platform X that supports the claim that Jewish communities push “hate against whites.” Musk also lent credence to a fringe conspiracy theory last year about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by posting a link to an article full of baseless claims about Paul Pelosi.

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Musk faced backlash from the White House and others last week for engaging in an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

“It is unacceptable to repeat the heinous lie behind the most fatal act of anti-Semitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement . CNN.

05:18 – Source: CNN

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On Friday, at least half a dozen major advertisers, including media giants Disney, Paramount and NBCUniversal, halted their spending on X. IBM also suspended advertising on the platform after the Media Matters report found their ad was appearing alongside pro-Nazi content.

Musk has pushed back on the idea that he is anti-Semitic. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said in a post on Sunday. Musk’s company has also claimed that Media Matters’ report was misleading and that it has taken steps to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination on the platform. X sued Media Matters on Monday, accusing it of misrepresenting how likely ads are to appear next to extremist content on X.

However, X has not removed the pro-Nazi accounts cited in Media Matters’ report, instead saying their posts had low engagement and would no longer be eligible for monetization.