Far-right figures and conspiracy theorists are alleging without evidence that former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama were responsible for the recent death of their personal chef Tafari Campbell.
“It’s about time we start discussing the Obama Body Count,” posted QAnon conspiracy theorist Liz Crokin on Twitter.
Misinformation around Campbell’s death is another instance of right-wing conspiracy theorists' years-long track record of falsely claiming that prominent Democratic politicians kill people to maintain political power.
On July 23, Campbell was seen paddleboarding near the Obama’s summer home on Edgartown Great Pond at Martha’s Vineyard when another paddleboarder saw him submerge underwater. The Massachusetts Environmental Police recovered his body the next day, and state police reported that there was “no evidence” of anything “suspicious” regarding his drowning. Barack and Michelle Obama were not home when the tragedy occurred.
Despite a lack of evidence, far-right figures and conspiracy theorists have attacked the Obamas and baselessly claimed that they were responsible for Campbell’s death, and right-wing media figures have started to imply there was foul play involved.
- QAnon conspiracy theorist Liz Crokin alleged that “it’s about time we start discussing the Obama Body Count” and asked of Campbell, “What did he know?”
- Conspiracy theorist Roger Stone shared a screenshot of an article on Campbell’s death and implied that his death was purposeful, saying, “Clearing the decks for her 2024 candidacy. Tying up the loose ends #MichelleObama2024.”
- White nationalist Stew Peters posted, “Clinton White House Chef: DEAD. Obama White House Chef: DEAD. If I'm Joe Biden's chef, I'm quitting and getting FAR AWAY from that family.”
- QAnon grifter Ron Watkins asked, “Did Obama's chef know too much? Was he planning to talk?”
- Right-wing conspiracy theorist Matt Wallace asked, “What really happened here? Drunk? Drugged? Murdered? RELEASE THE FOOTAGE!!!” In another post, Wallace said, “Over the last 7 years, he has traveled all over the world with them and knows many of their deepest/darkest secrets. … Rumors are spreading that he was murdered because they discovered a book he was writing about his experience that included a lot of reputation-damaging info.”
- Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes asserted that “I used to use Obama’s chef as an example of a president who DOESN’T have a high body count. May have to amend that.”
- On the far-right message board The Donald, users claimed that Campbell’s death was intentional and pushed other bigoted conspiracy theories.