How #Pizzagate Brought Unwanted Attention To An Olympia Artist

Jul 1, 2017

Editor's note: The audio version of this story contains language some readers may find inappropriate.

Sometimes the things that keep us up seem to come out of nowhere. Something we might never have given a second thought to all of a sudden, for reasons we can’t quite understand, become front and center in our life.

That’s what happened to Arrington De Dionyso. He’s a painter and musician from Olympia.

Back in 2010, De Dionyso was given the opportunity to paint a mural at a popular pizza place and music venue in Washington D.C. called Comet Ping Pong. He was basically given full artistic license to paint whatever he wanted. And he did. He had no plan of what he was going to paint when he started —no sketches or anything like that.

When it was all done, De Dionyso had created something both he and the staff were really happy with. There were these characters holding masks and birds. But recently, this mural, which was painted over five years ago, got him a lot of unwanted attention.

When rumors started going around that Comet Ping Pong was somehow linked to a child sex trafficking ring, some people started associating the mural with the rumors, and De Dionyso immediately started receiving harassment and threats.

This story originally aired on Jan. 14, 2017