Conspiracies and doubt are proliferating online following the drowning and death of the Obama family’s chef, Tafari Campbell.
Police confirmed Monday that Campbell, 45, drowned while paddleboarding in a pond near a home owned by the Obamas in Martha’s Vineyard.
The search for Campbell began after another, still unidentified, paddleboarder on the pond witnessed him go under. The Massachusetts State Police said neither former President Barack Obama nor Michelle Obama was present at their residence at the time of the drowning.
Following reports of Campbell’s death, internet conspiracists quickly began espousing unproven theories and skepticism that his drowning was accidental.
“Clinton’s personal chef ‘accidentally’ drowned too,” commented one Twitter user, referencing Walter Scheib, who drowned in June 2015 while hiking in New Mexico.
Several online conspiracists went as far as to baselessly suggest the Obamas had Campbell murdered.
One user listed out several reasons why he was skeptical Campbell’s death was an accident including asking why he didn’t grab onto his paddleboard when he fell off, why he left his family to go paddleboarding, and the odds of the Obamas being out of town at the time.
He also repeated completely unverified rumors “he was murdered because they discovered a book he was writing about his experience that included a lot of reputation-damaging info.”
Another commented: “What did Tafari Campbell see in Obama’s house that got him murdered?”
Campbell served as a White House sous chef in the Obama administration and left in 2016 to work for the family.
In a joint statement shared with several news outlets, the Obamas described Campbell as “a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter.”
“That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone,” the statement added.
Campbell’s death will be investigated by Edgartown and Massachusetts police, according to NPR.