Accused Pelosi attacker David DePape spread QAnon, other far-right, bigoted conspiracies
In the months before police accused him of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Friday morning, David DePape had been drifting further into the world of far-right conspiracies, antisemitism and hate, according to a Times review of his online accounts.
In a personal blog that DePape maintained, posts include such topics as “Manipulation of History,” “Holohoax” and “It’s OK to be white.” He mentioned 4chan, a favorite message board of the far right. He posted videos about conspiracies involving COVID-19 vaccines and the war in Ukraine being a ploy for Jewish people to buy land.
DePape’s screeds included posts about QAnon, an unfounded theory that former President Trump is at war with a cabal of Satan-worshipping elites who run a child sex ring and control the world. In an Aug. 23 entry titled “Q,” DePape wrote: “Either Q is Trump himself or Q is the deepstate moles within Trumps inner circle.”
DePape’s daughter, Inti Gonzalez, told The Times that her father wrote the blog. She said that she and her mother were reeling from the news that DePape had been arrested in connection with the attack on Paul Pelosi.
“I’m a little shocked,” she said, “but not really that shocked, in all honesty.”
Authorities have not revealed a motive for the attack at the Pelosi home in San Francisco early Friday. But law enforcement sources said the assailant shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” before confronting Paul Pelosi, and San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott called the attack “intentional.”
Suspect David DePape has been booked on suspicion of attempted murder and other counts. The assault on Paul Pelosi raises concerns as attacks on public officials rise.
Several lawmakers have blamed hyper-partisanship and divisive political rhetoric for an increase in political violence and security incidents in recent years, especially following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Scott said after a 911 call to the Pelosi residence, officers found a man — later identified as DePape — and Paul Pelosi “both holding a hammer.” The intruder pulled the hammer from the 82-year-old Pelosi and then began striking him, Scott said. Officers tackled the suspect, disarmed him and took him into custody.
DePape, 42, was taken to a hospital and later booked on suspicion of attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and destroying a cellphone to prevent someone from seeking help, authorities said.
Paul Pelosi underwent surgery Friday after the attack. Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Nancy’s Pelosi’s office, said in a statement that Pelosi suffered a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. “His doctors expect a full recovery,” the statement said.
DePape followed a number of conservative creators online, including Tim Pool, Glenn Beck, DailyWire+ and the Epoch Times. He also followed an account on YouTube called Black Pilled and reposted several of its videos on his blog. “Blackpilling” is internet slang for coming to believe supposedly unacceptable facts about society, and the reposted videos include accusations such as the FBI covering up child rape.
Three of DePape’s relatives — including his father — declined to be interviewed for this article. They said they haven’t been in contact with DePape for years and that he’s not in contact with his family. DePape grew up in British Columbia and moved to California more than 20 years ago, one of them said.
DePape was mentioned in a 2013 San Francisco Chronicle article and was described as a “father figure” to Gypsy Taub, a nudist who lived in a three-bedroom Victorian apartment in Berkeley with her then-fiance and her three children. DePape, who was “a hemp jewelry maker,” was the best man in Taub’s wedding.
The attacker who confronted Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul in their home yelled, ‘Where is Nancy?’ Read our full coverage.
When DePape was sounding off about QAnon, he posted: “Remember when the UK arrested parents for trying to rescue their children from being gang banged at pedo rape parties and f— LET the pedo’s CONTINUE their kiddie rape orgies,” he continued.
Another post referenced “pizzagate,” a bogus conspiracy theory that posited that children were trapped in a sexual abuse ring in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria run by Hillary Clinton and a chief aide.
“Pizza gate is connected to Epstien hahahahha,” a post from Aug. 23 read. “My friends would be like pizza gate was debunked their is NO such thing as elite pedophile sex rings and I’m like HELLO Epstein what planet are you on?”
In another, he called “equity” a leftist dog whistle “for the systematic oppression of white people” and “diversity” a “dog whistle for the genocide of the white race.” In others, he posted separate videos questioning the Holocaust and alleging Jewish bankers were responsible for Hitler’s rise to power.
DePape also ran a WordPress blog with the domain “godisloving.wordpress.com,” which included racial slurs and far-right conspiracy theories, according to news reports. A spokesperson for WordPress.com, which is owned by Automattic, confirmed that DePape’s blog was taken down Friday “for violating our Terms of Service.”
The attack at the Pelosi home in San Francisco is one in a string of incidents affecting members of Congress and their families this year.
DePape also shared intimate emails and texts with family members, peppering them with xenophobic ideas and conspiracy theories. Even nonpolitical posts, such as one about a visit to a movie theater to watch “Black Adam,” were laden with conspiracy theories and ideas about racial tension.
For the record:
7:56 p.m. Oct. 28, 2022A previous version of this article referred to “Black Adam” as a Marvel movie. Black Adam is a DC Comics character.
“The critics are f— commie gate keepers,” reads a post written two days before the attack on Pelosi. In it, he writes he “enjoyed” the superhero movie. “Fantastic performance by Mr. ‘The Rock’ he carried the movie.”
But the writing quickly jumped to a conspiracy that the movie plot is not about the comic superhero Black Adam, but an effort to push hate against white people. “The real plot of the story was kill all white people,” DePape wrote. “Black adams [sic] was just a plot device for hollywood to push their white hate narrative.”
Days after Kanye West’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were locked due to antisemitic remarks, DePape created a subsection of his personal blog dedicated to posts about Jewish people. He attempted to debunk the Holocaust and repeated antisemitic sentiments in nearly 20 posts over a 10-day period.
The hammer attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband at their San Francisco home grew out of a culture that rewards stridency and provocation.
He also posted personal conversations with his daughter. Their chats sometimes were about simple moments, including whistling back at birds, while others were darker, angry moments among DePape, Gonzalez and her mother.
Gonzalez said she was aware that her father posted some of their text conversations on the blog, but said she hadn’t paid very close attention to the rest of the content.
“I knew that he was posting things like that, but I didn’t know he posted all the stuff that I sent him,” she said. “But I don’t really care.”
She’d been in contact with her father, she said, but said her family did not want to discuss him at the moment.
DePape posted videos to Facebook by MyPillow Chief Executive Mike Lindell saying that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, according to reports.
He also linked to sites with claims about the deadliness of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The death rates being promoted are what ever ‘THEY’ want to be promoted as the death rate,” one post read.
DePape’s Facebook page appeared to no longer be accessible Friday. Facebook’s parent, Meta, didn’t immediately respond to a request for information.
Times staff writers Noah Goldberg, Richard Winton, Alexandra E. Petri and Gregory Yee contributed to this report.
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