Like pizzagate, some sad and confused people think the beloved doughnut shop is a front for child trafficking
Credit: Photo by George Rose via Getty Images

As if pizzagate weren’t dumb enough, so-called conspiracy theorists are lowering the bar on irrational thought with a set of pedophile-obsessed rumors about the iconic Portland, Oregon, doughnut shop, Voodoo Doughnuts. The resulting #donutgate wouldn’t even be worth your attention except that when society reaches this kind of new low, you may find yourself wanting to keep tabs on just how far we can sink.

I honestly can't believe this is even a thing. Let’s quickly run through donutgate. According to Media Matters for America, which actively seeks to correct unsubstantiated right-wing claims, these allegations against Voodoo Doughnuts were first publically spread in a YouTube video from August 4 on a channel known as Lift the Veil, where a man stated that he “was made aware of people that were participating in sexual abuse and trafficking of children in the city of Portland,” before specifically tying those claims to the owners of Voodoo Donuts. Though the vague discussion goes on for what feels like forever, the man even manages to connect the whole story to the Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, the restaurant named in the false pizzagate accusations.

As the local alt-weekly paper Willamette Week writes, “There's not a clear reason why conspiracy theorists would target Voodoo, except that it is based in progressive Portland, a recent fixation of the right."

At this point, even conspiracy theories themselves have been unbelievably debased. Though the term has never had a positive connotation, in the past, these far-out theories at least had a point: trying to explain the unexplainable. From UFO sightings to the JFK assassination, people didn’t always buy into Occam’s razor and instead tried to come up with way more complicated, but potentially feasible explanations. Even with something like 9/11, it’s easy to see how such a traumatic event could leave people questioning how a single plane could take down a skyscraper. But increasingly, conspiracy theorists no longer seem to require the prerequisite of an existing unexplainable phenomenon. Instead, these writers of real-life fan fiction appear to be perfectly happy with concocting a story out of nowhere from the ground up to suit their own needs.

In the end, if you happened to catch the phrase donutgate somewhere and was wondering what it is, now you know, so you can feel safe never having to think about it again.