Did Chuck C. Johnson’s “Wesearchr” Extortion/Bounty Site Help Inspire the PizzaGate Gunman?
One of the disgusting imaginary details of the far right “PizzaGate” conspiracy theory is that the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington DC is connected to a network of secret tunnels, in which children are hidden and tortured. And now we have reports that the heavily armed gunman who entered the restaurant yesterday to “self-investigate” was searching for those tunnels.
Which leads us to the question in the title of this article, because one of the so-called “bounties” currently being offered at Wesearchr, the site run by disgraced far right white supremacist trolls Chuck C. Johnson and Pax Dickinson, is titled: PizzaGate Urban Explorers League Ultimate Challenge.
And they’re offering a substantial amount of money to anyone who can provide proof of those “tunnels.”
The description says they’re not encouraging anyone to do anything illegal, and then winks at it by making it clear they’ll pay the “bounty” even if you do.
First: please absolutely do not bother business owners or do anything even remotely illegal for this mission. This is not a prize to see who can harass some guy the most or who can get in the most trouble. This is a purely journalistic investigation.
The goal of this bounty is to establish the presence of tunnels underneath or very close to being underneath Comet Ping Pong Pizza and/or Besta Pizza in Washington DC.
Please make sure you check with local law enforcement and several lawyers before attempting any Urban Exploration on your own. I’m posting this because Urban Exploration can be a fun and exciting hobby, but I absolutely can’t condone any breaking of the law, so please make sure you don’t do that. However, the bounty will be paid in any case, even if you break the speed limit or illegally park your bicycle.
…or terrorize a restaurant full of people with a semi-automatic rifle.
Was the gunman inspired to do what he did by this offer of money? We don’t know, although it may come out at his trial. But one thing is very clear: Chuck C. Johnson and Pax Dickinson are trying to profit from exploiting a baseless conspiracy theory, and are putting innocent lives at risk.
The Washington Post’s latest article on the gunman mentions the bounty set up by Wesearchr, but doesn’t name the site.
The conspiracy theory, which began shortly before the election after emails were released by WikiLeaks, quickly gained believers on sites such as Reddit, which banned the community in late November, citing its policy against posting the personal information of others.
But another website offered more than $2,500 for proof of underground tunnels within 800 feet of Comet Ping Pong.