No, Barack Obama and Kamala Harris didn’t have a coded conversation about pedophilia in 2020
A Facebook post resurfaced a video linked to Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracy theories and attempted to link a 2020 conversation between former US President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris to paedophilia.
The Aug. 15 post re-shared a TikTok video that begins by showing what it claims is an official “FBI pedo codewords” document. (Pedo is short for pedophile.)
The alleged document lists individual foods and what they amount to when used by pedophiles. According to the listing in the video, “hot dog” would be the code word for “boy”, “pizza” for “girl”, “pasta” for “little boy”, “ice cream” for “prostitute” and ” sauce” for “orgy”.
The video then shows a screenshot of what it claims is an email obtained by WikiLeaks sent by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to Obama when he was president. The email includes mentions of ongoing White House pizza and hot dog arrangements.
The video ends with a clip of Harris asking Obama about his relationship with President Joe Biden as dramatic music plays. The clip is taken from a September 2020 video of Biden’s presidential campaign.
“Tell me about Joe and your relationship with Joe and what do I need to know,” Harris says. “Like, what’s wrong with ice cream? He loves ice cream – tell me about that.”
Obama responds by saying “Ice cream is great. Pasta with red sauce…he can go further on that.”
Although the TikTok video and Facebook post imply that the exchange is a coded conversation about paedophilia, it has no basis in reality; the FBI document and the e-mail in it are fake.
Versions of the claim have appeared elsewhere on the internet since the campaign video was released.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
What are Pizzagate and QAnon?
The Pizzagate conspiracy theory began to spread during the 2016 presidential election when WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
A group of users on the unmoderated online forum 4chan noticed an email exchange between Podesta and the owner of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, DC, about a potential Clinton fundraiser at the restaurant. They believed the exchange was a coded conversation about pedophilia and that the pizzeria was holding children hostage as part of a trafficking ring involving Clinton.
Some people were so convinced that the Pizzagate conspiracy theory was true that a North Carolina man walked into the restaurant in December 2016 and shot an assault rifle inside as part of an effort to “investigate himself” into the allegations. The man surrendered to police and no one was injured in the incident.
Pizzagate predated the QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon involves forum posts from an anonymous person called Q, who claims to be a government insider with high-ranking military information about how the “deep state” was working against former President Donald Trump and his administration. (The “deep state” is a term conspiracy theorists use to describe what they claim is a secret network of civilian and military officials meant to undermine or control democratically elected governments.)
A core belief of QAnon is that Trump was elected president to covertly fight a satanic pedophile cabal made up of prominent Democrats and celebrities who operated a global sex trafficking ring.
The FBI document and the WikiLeaks email
The FBI document shown in the video does not exist. Instead, it’s a combination of a real intelligence bulletin from the federal agency and a message from 4chan.
The FBI bulletin included a list of symbols and logos that pedophiles use to identify their sexual preferences, but did not mention the foods used as code words.
The list of codewords appears to be from an anonymous user on 4chan and not from a law enforcement agency.
The email shown in the video also does not exist and looks like a debunked claim that Obama spent $65,000 on child prostitution. A search of the WikiLeaks database using phrases from the email returned no results.
A Facebook post shared a TikTok video that implied a conversation between Obama and Harris was filled with coded messages about pedophilia.
The video is linked to debunked conspiracy theories Pizzagate and QAnon, which accuse prominent Democrats and celebrities of involvement in a satanic child sex trafficking ring. Fake documents are used in the video in an attempt to back up the baseless claim.
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