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Patrons use dough to back pizza place targeted by fake news

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The front door of Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, in Washington, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. A fake news story prompted a man to fire a rifle inside a popular Washington, D.C., pizza place as he attempted to “self-investigate” a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from there, police said.

WASHINGTON >> There’s at least a slice of good news for a pizza restaurant in the nation’s capital caught up in fake news stories about a child sex trafficking ring run by prominent Democrats.

In the days since a conspiracy theorist showed up and fired an assault weapon inside Comet Ping Pong, supporters of the restaurant have turned out in droves to buy pizzas and leave homemade signs and flowers.

More than 2,000 people said on Facebook that they’re going to this weekend’s “Stand With Comet” event to support the pizza place and other neighborhood restaurants targeted by fake news fanatics.

John McKeel walked out of Comet Ping Pong Friday carrying “The Smoky,” with mushrooms and bacon; and “The Jimmy,” topped with meatballs. But McKeel wasn’t just coming for the food.

“I had to come today” to support the restaurant, said McKeel, 39, of Alexandria, Virginia.

The Facebook page urged people to support not only Comet Ping Pong but other nearby stores that have been subjected to harassing and threatening online comments and phone calls since the fake news stories began spreading.

“If they run out of dough today, that’d be a good thing,” said Erick Sanchez, the event’s organizer.

So many came out Friday that people waited an hour and a half for a table and carry-out took 45 minutes. Other local restaurants spontaneously sent over wait staff to help. Others sent food for employees.

The restaurant also is getting support online, where a GoFundMe page set up to help it pay for legal expenses and extra security had passed $15,000, with a goal of $28,000.

Interim District of Columbia Police Chief Peter Newsham visited Friday, with a message for fake news peddlers.

“It’s not funny. It’s serious. It can have very, very serious consequences,” he said, adding that police are following up on the harassment and threats local businesses have received.

The man police arrested Sunday at Comet Ping Pong, Edgar Maddison Welch, has a court hearing next week. Police have said the 28-year-old from Salisbury, N.C., fired shots from an AR-15 assault weapon after coming to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory known as “pizzagate.”

He surrendered peacefully “when he found no evidence that underage children were being harbored in the restaurant,” police said.

Joey Allen, the marketing and events manager for the District Restaurant Group, which owns the nearby Jake’s American Grille, says its restaurant also was harassed with calls related to the conspiracy. At one point the calls were daily, Allen said.

At Comet Ping Pong, the staff seemed to be in a good mood Friday, said Carrie Gillispie, 34, visiting with her husband. She wasn’t bothered by the lines for tables.

“It makes me happy that the wait is so long,” she said.

Her husband, Sean Gillispie, 34, said anyone who still thinks the restaurant is somehow connected to nefarious activities should come see for themselves that “this is just a normal business with normal people.”

Plus, he said: “The pizza is really good.”

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  • No challenge from the MSM when Harry Reid from the floor of the Senate claimed that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years. That was provable fake news that democrats and the MSM had no problem promoting.

      • I’m sorry you feel that way. The story line is so-called fake news, is it not? The point which you seem to have missed is that democrats have grabbed onto fake news to ease their pain after their policies were roundly rejected by the electorate. Instead of making excuses progressives should engage in a little introspection. While you are commiserating with one another Mr. Trump is taking concrete action to repair the economic and social damage Barry Hussein has done. He is selecting people with real records of achievement. Barry Hussein surrounded himself with political hacks who are only concerned with growing government and controlling the lives of the masses.

        • Was there the slightest chance that this bit of “fake news” would’ve brought someone to the floor of the Senate with an AR-15 to pump Harry Reid full of lead? Just knock it off with your false equivalencies already.

        • Yes, of course … Mr. Trump will repair social damage? Can he do that by giving a voice at his side to white nationalists, white supremacists and racists? Violent hate crimes are spiking up all over the country since Trump won. He gave a voice to criminally violent imbeciles. They are called his base.

  • The villainous perpetrators of these fake-news hoaxes are now on notice as to the evil outcomes that can result from their foolish games. This could’ve easily ended in tragedy. Let’s hope nobody dies because of these liars’ self-aggrandizement. But if, God forbid, one of these hoaxes results in murder — the authors should be hauled into court and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    • Here’s another “false equivalency” for you. Barry Hussein’s administration including Waldo Clinton knowingly pushed a fake news story regarding the cause of the Benghazi attack. The MSM obediently went along with it knowing it was a lie.

      • But yet the men arrested for the murders confessed that the video set them off. You aren’t diligent enough to research things before you comment on them, or if the facts conflict with the facts you made up in your head.

        Goo thing that Mr. Trump has people to defend him no matter what he does. He’s going to need that defense a lot.

  • It’s hard enough to run a small business without having to deal with threats from people who fall for false news. I hope the friends of this place prevail, and it thrives.

  • And what about the fake news , polls and the like fron CNN, ABC, CBS and MSNBC ? This past election season saw a plethora of massaged stories propping up that scandalous HRC . If you are going to call out social media, you need to start with mainstream media first. It will be a long, long time before I trust ANYTHING published by these knuckleheads. You basically have to use outside the USA media sources, to find out what really is going on.

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