Pizza is one of the most American of foods, so it’s not surprising it’s become a saucy canvas upon which we project our hopes, our fears, our longings. Pizza has figured in horrible political rumors, racial controversies, as well as less-weighty “scandals.” Over the past few years, pizza chains have somehow become ground zero for conspiracy theories, the latest of which involves accusations that Chuck E. Cheese’s recycles uneaten pizza slices from previous orders into new pies.
The theory is making the internet rounds this week, with its origins in a video by Shane Dawson, a YouTuber who has a series of “conspiracy” videos that have tens of millions of views. His theory—and he’s quick to say this is just his “opinion” and not a fact—is that Chuck E. Cheese’s doesn’t always make its pizzas fresh, instead collecting uneaten pieces from tables and rearranging them into “new” pies that they rebake. Yeah, that sounds super gross, but how does he back up his claims? He shares footage of Chuck E. Cheese’s pizzas he’s ordered as well as those he’s seen photos of online, where uneven pieces do appear to not fit together into a whole, intact pie: “It never lines up. If you pushed this pizza together, there’s no fucking way that’s a circle. It almost looks like they glued it together.” He also cites online posts from other people claiming to share his theory.
Obviously, Chuck E. Cheese’s denies Dawson’s theory. In a statement to Buzzfeed News, a spokesperson calls the claims “unequivocally false” and says all pies are made to order. A former Chuck E. Cheese’s employee also tells Buzzfeed the variation in slice shapes can be due to the tools used to cut them, as well as cheese shrinkage in the oven.
So, whether you chose to believe Dawson’s conspiracy—he says the mystery remains “unsolved”—or the Chuck E. Cheese’s statement, the fact remains that Chuck E. Cheese’s pizza is far from anyone’s favorite anyway, and few adults have any occasion to eat it. Just file this theory away in your Pizza Conspiracies drawer, next to the frozen DiGiorno boxes at Little Caesar’s incident and former Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter’s “Save Papa John’s” truther website. If you’re so paranoid about your takeout pizza, I guess the only solution is to make it yourself with a tin hat on.