Internet story provides window into Pelosi assault suspect

Internet story provides window into Pelosi assault suspect

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The internet story of the man accused of assaulting Paul Pelosi in his San Francisco home shows an obsession with far-right media and conspiracy theories ranging from the Great Reset to QAnon.

David DePape, 42, is accused of breaking into the Pacific Heights home shared by Paul Pelosi and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi early Friday morning. During the burglary, he allegedly demanded to see Nancy Pelosi and assaulted Paul Pelosi so badly that Pelosi required surgery for his head injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery; Nancy Pelosi was not at home at the time of the attack.

Long before he became a suspect in the Pelosi assault, DePape had a reputation in the Bay Area for his fringe beliefs. He once lived in Berkeley with Gypsy Taub, a naked activist who was known to espouse 9/11 conspiracy theories and is now in jail for stalking a teenager. According to Taub and others who know DePape, he hasn’t lived with her for some time.

David DePape, center, records Gypsy Taub being taken away by police after her nude wedding outside City Hall on December 19, 2013 in San Francisco. DePape is accused of breaking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and severely beating her husband with a hammer.

Eric Risberg/AP

DePape’s WordPress blog and Facebook page, both closed since Friday, were filled with popular content from far-right media and propaganda outlets. One of the WordPress posts was an image attempting to connect various child sex trafficking conspiracies, an obsession among QAnon adherents; the image shows the logo of furniture company Wayfair, which some Q believers say sells children on its site under the guise of expensive furniture. DePape also posted about Pizzagate, a conspiracy that imagines liberal politicians kicking children out of a Washington, DC pizzeria.

“My friends would be like the pizza door has been debunked, there are NO elite pedophile sex rings and I’m like HELLO Epstein what planet are you on?” the post reads.

Some posts use racial slurs, and others show a fixation on the idea that white men are persecuted in America. “Hate speech is ONLY allowed to target WHITE people or MEN,” reads a meme posted by DePape. In another, he called “diversity” a “dog whistle for the genocide of the white race.” He has also posted content questioning the Holocaust. A WordPress post is titled “Hitlery Did Nothing Wrong”.

DePape’s daughter confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the blog belongs to her father.

According to CNN, DePape posted links on his Facebook page claiming the 2020 election was stolen and false claims that people are dying from the COVID-19 vaccine. He also reportedly repeatedly published about the Great Reset, a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned and used by the global elite to reorganize society. The Great Reset is constantly invoked by Alex Jones, who was recently ordered to pay over $1 billion in damages for spreading lies about the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Extremism researchers are finding that modern New Age beliefs increasingly intersect with far-right conspiracy theories. They already share certain beliefs, such as opposition to modern medicine and distrust of conventional authority figures, and strong anti-vaccination stances may lead some down the path of more radical beliefs.

DePape, who was born in Canada, is being held in a San Francisco County jail for attempted murder, assault, burglary and threatening a family member of a public official, among other crimes. He is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.

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