Ever since the Pizzagate phenomenon of late 2016, the alt-right’s preferred conspiracies have centered around pedophilia and sexual abuse. Stories about secret child sex trafficking rings in Washington, D.C. and Hollywood have been the order of the day, and are promoted through fake news sites and message boards, often with an anti-Semitic twist.
As ridiculous as these stories are — and they are extremely ridiculous — they can yield violent consequences in real life. The Pizzagate hoax was at its zenith in December 2016 when Edgar Maddison Welch walked into a pizza parlor armed with an AR-15 in order to “self-investigate” the conspiracy and perhaps free the children. Last year conspiracy theorist Lane Davis, obsessed with left-wing pedophiles, murdered his father during a heated argument.
The far-right’s obsession with pedophiles was revived once again thanks to pro-Trump fraudster Mike Cernovich, who used a prominent director’s tasteless decade-old Twitter jokes about child sex abuse to get him fired by Disney. Other trolls have repeated this tactic with prominent comedians, including Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon.
Anyone who points out that these jokes, while awful, do not constitute proof of actual sex crimes against children are immediately tarred as pedophiles themselves — or at least supporters of pedophilia. It’s a moral panic that can sustain itself endlessly without its proponents having to offer up a shred of evidence.
And it’s no surprise that alt-right author, Gamergate supporter, and all around misogynistic creep Theodore “Vox Day” Beale is fanning the flames of this panic. In a recent episode of his Darkstream, titled “Hollywood’s demons are trembling,” Beale promoted utterly insane and discredited conspiracy theories about Jews and Hollywood pedos.
While fielding questions from his viewers, Beale was asked whether or not the Protocols of the Elders of Zion — a centuries-old anti-Semitic forgery used to incite Europeans against the Jews — was “real,” Beale prevaricated. “Well, it really exists,” he said, adding that it is a “forgery in that there probably was not a formal group called the ‘Learned Elders of Zion.'”
Probably. There probably was no group called the “Learned Elders of Zion.” Good to know. After this tepid remark about the publication’s authenticity, Beale remarked, “But given the accuracy with which that document predicted events for the next 100 years or so, it appears to be a little bit more relevant than one would’ve expected of a forged piece of fiction.”
Beale never specified which events the Protocols “predicted,” but he claimed “it’s complicated” and that “no one really knows for sure” whether its contents are “real” or not.
Later on Beale noticed a comment in the live chat regarding unfounded rumors that director Steven Spielberg is a pedophile. In a November 10, 2017 article, the fake news website YourNewsWire (citing the similarly disreputable alt-right website Squawker) promoted a 2003 essay allegedly written by actor Crispin Glover which seemed to imply the director is a pedophile.
The essay contained lines like “Does [Spielberg] collect the illustrations of Norman Rockwell, such as the one showing a young boy in his underwear examined by a doctor?” and “Do Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg share similar opinions about the sexuality of young boys?” It also made repeated references to “anally rap[ing]” Spielberg.
Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy recently breathed new life into this baseless smear, pushing videos in support of it to the top of YouTube’s search engine. And on /pol/ (4chan’s “politically incorrect” board), anonymous users embraced these rumors as well. One poster wrote of Spielberg:
Probably a pedo. There have been rumors about him in Hollywood for years, rumors that only people in the film industry discussed in hushed tones, behind closed doors, out of fear they’d be blackballed. Crispin Glover was the only one who said anything publicly, years ago, and even then, it wasn’t an overt accusation.
Another defended their troll campaign against directors like Spielberg, justifying it as “Standing up to child rape.” “Taking down kikes and zogs is a worthy enterprise,” the user added. Other targets included Tom Hanks, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Green, Barack Obama, and Stephen Colbert.
Beale explained to his audience that, “There is increasingly information that is flying around the chans, flying around different gossip websites and stuff. It does appear Spielberg is one of the — one of the bad guys in Hollywood.” Beale claimed there were some “well known indications” that Spielberg “might not be on the right side of the law,” and that the accusations against him “are pretty horrific indeed.”
Beale, again, never clarified what, exactly, those allegations were or who was making them. Instead he continued to fan the conspiracy’s flames. “If you look at Spielberg’s focus on children, that’s always been a little bit troubling,” Beale said.
“I don’t know anything about it, I have no direct information, but given how much smoke there is, and how we know that the situation in Hollywood is very, very bad, it would be surprising if someone of his stature in Hollywood was not severely compromised in some way.”