After clear police body camera footage of the October 2022 attack on Paul Pelosi was released to the public on January 27, some in conservative media continue to downplay the attack and erroneously claim that the video is further evidence of debunked conspiracy theories.
Pelosi spent six days recovering in the hospital after his attacker brutally beat him with a hammer. Despite the severity of Pelosi’s injuries, right-wing media immediately began spreading conspiracy theories about the attack’s severity. On Fox News, hosts repeatedly defended conspiracy theorists, suggesting that the evidence “doesn’t add up.” Elsewhere in the right-wing media echosphere, media figures pushed conspiracy theories about Pelosi and his attacker being in an affair and baselessly suggested that the mainstream media was providing cover for Democrats.
Even after prosecutors played the grisly body camera footage in court, right-wing media continued to “just ask questions” and spread doubt that the attack was politically motivated.
However, according to released evidence, Pelosi’s attacker was seemingly influenced by misinformation pushed by right-wing media. His blog was reportedly filled with misinformation about the election and clear support for the MAGA movement and former President Donald Trump. Rather than reckon with the facts, right-wing media fostered conspiracy theories about the attack.
Now that the body camera footage has been released to the public, right-wing media figures and far-right influencers have continued to cast doubt on the footage that shows the attacker hitting Pelosi with a hammer. Contrary to the evidence, right-wing media personalities have tried to nitpick details of the video to spread further conspiracy theories, mocking the incident and suggesting the attacker was secretly a lover of Pelosi’s.
Nitpicking details of the bodycam footage to push conspiracy theories
- On the January 27 edition of The Benny Show, host Benny Johnson fed into conspiracy theories surrounding Pelosi’s attack, asking his audience if the video “puts any conclusion at hand” or if it raises more “questions” and “concerns.” Johnson added, “Frankly, that is how you actually make situations like this far worse when you utilize them for political gain or treat them as a political football. It's macabre, it's dark, it's sick."
- QAnon influencer account Pepe Lives Matter took to Telegram to express their dubious speculations about the attack, demanding, “Also what happened to the glass being broken from the inside? The Paul Pelosi hammer attack footage clears absolutely nothing up for me and only gives me more questions.”
- On Telegram, QAnon influencer Clandestine called into question the media’s reporting on the attack.
- On Telegram, QAnon influencer Red.Pill.Pharmacist called the media’s coverage on Pelosi’s attack a means to cover up conspiracies involving Dr. Anthony Fauci and the origins of COVID-19.
- On Telegram, QAnon influencer StormyPatriotJoe suggested that the attack was staged.
Mocking or downplaying the attack
- On Twitter, former Trump official and podcast host Monica Crowley sneered, “If you thought there was more to the Paul Pelosi story, the bodycam video really hammers it home.”
- MAGA Twitter account Carpe Donktum (real name Logan Cook) questioned the validity of Pelosi’s attack, tweeting, “I don't claim to be an expert on dealing with home invasions, but I am pretty sure you don't take your pants off and make a cocktail. #paulpelosi.”
- Carpe Donktum also posted an edited video clip on Twitter mocking Pelosi’s attack.
- The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh reduced the attack on Pelosi to “a local San Francisco crime story” by “crazy homeless people” that “the media absurdly tried to pin on Republicans.”
- Right-wing misogynist Mike Cernovich blamed the attack on “the terrorism unleashed on the country by the far left Pelosi wing” and said it shows that “even the ultra wealthy can be attacked by their zombie creations. Tighten up security.”
- MAGA influencer Blake Marnell, also known by his Twitter account Brick Suit, tweeted his speculations about the facts of the attack, saying, “Why weren't we told that Paul Pelosi was drinking (actually holding his drink!) with his pants off when the cops came?”
Pushing homophobic narratives about the attacker and Pelosi
- Tom Pappert, editor-in-chief of right-wing outlet Valiant News, tweeted that “Pelosi & DePape give big Randy and Mr. Lahey vibes,” referencing two LGBTQ characters from the show Trailer Park Boys who are in a relationship together.
- QAnon conspiracy theorist and failed GOP 2020 Senate nominee Lauren Witzke tweeted, “The Paul Pelosi foreplay video has been released.”
- David Leatherwood, an employee of the conservative OUTspoken blog, joined in feeding into homophobic conspiracy theories by tweeting, “This video does not absolve Paul Pelosi of gay tryst rumors, if anything it confirms them.”
- Right-wing personality Juanita Broaddrick tweeted, “The Paul Pelosi body cam just shows two men having a beer and enjoying each others company until the police showed up and tried to take their ‘toys’ away.”
- Pro-Trump pundit John Cardillo tweeted that footage from the Pelosi attack “looks more like a domestic quarrel.”
- Ring-wing pundit Mike Crispi exclaimed “GAY LOVER QUARREL” in a post summarizing his conspiracy theories surrounding the attack, tweeting, “Paul Pelosi: 1. Dress shirt and no pants on 2. Holding a drink 3. Talks to Depape like he knows him and is trying to reason with him 4. Somehow simultaneously is holding the handle of the hammer with Depape (how’d he latch onto it? He a jujitsu master?).”