Markus 'Notch' Persson pushes pizzagate conspiracy

Photo via Ez/Minecraft Wikia Brian Shamblen/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (CC-BY-SA) Remix by Jason Reed

Minecraft’s Notch thinks bogus Pizzagate conspiracy theory has some merits

Minecraft's creator is under fire for enabling parts of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.


Ana Valens

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 30, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 6:54 pm CDT

Minecraft creator Markus Persson, better known as “Notch,” produced one of the most successful video games in the industry’s history. But these days, Persson is best known for his controversial tweets.

Case in point: Persson sent out a series of tweets over the weekend alleging that the right-wing conspiracy theory Pizzagate is real.

Persson’s Pizzagate comments kicked off on Friday evening after the developer turned to Twitter to share his thoughts on the conspiracy.

Pizzagate is a conspiracy theory that alleges Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., hosts a child sex abuse ring intertwined with the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton and 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta play major roles in the false conspiracy theory, and the theory itself stems largely from 4chan, Reddit, and Voat threads analyzing WikiLeaks-published emails from Podesta.

“(pizzagate is real),” Persson tweeted. The original tweet has since received over 2,600 retweets and 6,400 likes.

Reporter Brian Patrick Byrne later contacted Persson regarding his views on Pizzagate. (Disclosure: Byrne also contributes to the Daily Dot.) Notoriously critical toward reporters, Persson dodged the question on whether he thinks Pizzagate is real, instead arguing that people “are picking one of two sides emotionally in this incredibly insanely huge binary split, much like politics.”

Ultimately, Persson asked Byrne to tackle Pizzagate point-for-point, instead of condemning the entire conspiracy theory.

Pizzagate is notoriously toxic, with Reddit banning the r/Pizzagate subreddit and InfoWars’ Alex Jones even apologizing for encouraging the theory. In late 2016, the conspiracy theory led to one North Carolina man storming Comet Ping Pong, pointing his weapon at a worker, and firing his rifle inside the restaurant.

So for Persson to call Pizzagate “real,” even jokingly, raises major concern that the theory may impact the Minecraft community, which is primarily composed of children, pre-teens, and adolescents.

Persson does seem to agree with parts of Pizzagate, according to his tweets. He argues that John Podesta and his brother, lobbyist Tony Podesta, may have used “suspect codewords” in their leaked emails. He also claims that “a list of children (with ages included)” for a “heated pool party” is suspicious in one email, suggesting that there may be credence to some parts of the Pizzagate theory.

Persson also alleges people who are investigating the Podestas and Clintons “keep dying,” further suggesting that “a LOT of people who investigate trafficking or try to expose pedophilia rings either vanish, kill themselves in impressive ways, or vanish from public life.”

More than anything, though, Persson believes Pizzagate isn’t about pedophiles. He points to drugs and political collusion as the real source of the theory.

Pizzagate isn’t the only conspiracy theory that Persson entertains. He believes the mainstream media is trying to develop a “race war,” one that the left-wing and right-wing are both embracing. And the Minecaft creator proceeded to slam the media for focusing on “actually proven conspiracy theories” like “the Russia nonsense” over Pizzagate.

“And the kicker is that none of this gets reported in the media,” Persson said. “People focus on actually proven conspiracy theories like the Russia nonsense. A very obvious attempt at a race war is being manufactured by the media and the god damned retarded alt-right and alt-left fuel that fire.”

Suffice to say, Persson’s Pizzagate beliefs were met with some highly contentious responses. The Guardian’s Leigh Alexander has since coined the term “gone full Notch” to describe Persson’s fall from grace.

Others pointed out that Persson has a long history of terrible opinions on the internet, including previously calling for a “straight pride” parade. For them, Persson’s Pizzagate ideas are par for the course.

Persson sold Mojang, the studio that created Minecraft, to Microsoft in 2014, and he’s since reported feeling isolated while being rich. His notorious Twitter opinions may just stem from a deeper issue than political beliefs, like alienation from a cold, wealthy world.

Persson did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

H/T Daily Beast

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*First Published: Aug 30, 2017, 12:42 pm CDT