Brandon Wetherbee is the host of the You, Me, Them, Everybody talk show. See him Wednesday, December 28 at The Hungry Brain in Chicago, Il.
Sexual assault and child abuse are not funny. They’re incredibly serious issues that cross cultural and economic boundaries. But the Internet doesn’t react to facts. Sensationalism without a grasp on reality garners attention. That’s why I’m the Devil.
Last Friday we published the column I’m the Devil. It’s a response/letter/coming out on the absurdity of what’s not going on at Comet Ping Pong. A real business is going through real problems because not real claims are being lobbed by people ignorant of reality. It’s been bubbling up for weeks. Though BYT has been associated with the non-story, we didn’t think it was worth mentioning, it just seemed like Reddit being Reddit. Last week the BBC wrote about it. The BBC is not a local paper of note. It seemed silly to stay silent. It seemed obvious to admit I’m the Devil.
Yesterday Edgar Maddison Welch, a 28-year-old white man from Salisbury, North Carolina, drove to the restaurant to “self-investigate” Pizzagate. He was armed with an assault rifle. He allegedly fired one shot into the ground. He is in police custody. Established news outlets wrote about the incident soon after it happened. They are now being attacked for operating as part of a false flag operation. Really. All of this has happened in the last 24 hours.
PizzaGate is an extension of the Trump campaign (if you can’t rationalize this, just check the Twitter feed of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser, and Flynn’s son Michael G. Flynn, who happens to serve as his dad’s chief of staff (be careful when Googling this type of stuff, conspiracy theorists and racists have gotten really good with SEO and web design in the last 8 years so made up tales look like real journalism)) which was an extension of GamerGate which is a way for racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry to blossom in digital circles. Did I just change your mind by presenting facts? No. We’ve established facts don’t matter and narratives do. So that’s why I’m the Devil.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented nearly 900 hate incidents since the election. But you’re not going to click on another story of another person being attacked or screamed at by someone wearing a red hat. You will click on a piece about an unstable racist bringing a gun to a pizza place being falsely accused of horrendous crimes. So that’s why I’m the Devil.
People are being harassed and attacked because Macedonian teens, Trump and some of America told them it was OK. Guess who never said it was OK? Me. I’m the Devil.
I’ve been asked if I’m worried that coming out as the Devil will hurt me in the future. I am not. If you read and understood the piece you’ll know I’m against pedophilia and sexual assault and racism. After yesterday, I’d like to add that I’m against guns. All guns. These are not issues I’m afraid to be against so why would I be against living as my true self, the Devil?
Once again, pedophilia is a very serious issue. It is not funny. It should not be accused of lightly and without facts. While some people that believe Pizzagate may be real (It is not real but you already know that or are looking for secret messages in a column written by a man proclaiming to be the Devil so FTW, right?), it’s important to remember that sexual abuse is real. And bunk stories like this one distract from actual incidents.
So that’s why I’m the Devil. I’d rather receive odd looks and angry emails with the chance of someone realizing bigotry and ignorance is fueling false claims of serious crimes. Being the Devil and against hatred is better than being complacent to crazy.
If you’d like to help, consider eating at Comet Ping Pong on Friday to #StandwithComet. Or donate to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network. It’s impossible to stomp out crazy but it is possible to make the world a slightly better place. There are a lot of evil people in this world. You can trust me on that. I’m still the Devil.