Well, Shane Dawson’s done it again. If you’re not familiar with the 30-year-old YouTuber, Dawson gained popularity in the late 2000s on the video-sharing site doing pop culture-related, highly click baited skits. Now, the YouTuber has transitioned to spooky conspiracy videos and tea-spilling documentary series, earning him over 20 million subscribers, making him the 74th most subscribed-to person on YouTube. Dawson has series about Tana Mongeau, Jeffree Star, and Jake Paul, three other exceedingly famous YouTubers, and has discussed a myriad of conspiracy theories, from popular 9/11 and Moon Landing theories to lesser-known ones such as Taylor Swift being a clone of the high priestess of satanism (you wish I was kidding).
But, now the theory that is causing a stir has nothing to do with celebrities and everything to do with regular kids. Dawson’s latest 94-minute-long conspiracy theory video that has amassed 24 million views in the past 10 days discusses three main theories. The most attention-grabbing being the speculation that Chuck E. Cheese recycles uneaten slices of pizza, using them to form new whole pizzas for other guests. Gross, I know. Believable? At first glance, it’s definitely plausible. Just look at this picture. The slices were all cut separately, as can be seen by the nonlinear cuts of the slices, the uneven crust edges, and the non-overlapping pieces of pepperoni.
So, is it confirmed? In the video, Dawson only uses online photos as evidence until he “investigates” by driving to Chuck E. Cheese and ordering three pizzas, all of which come out uneven like the pizza in the image. However, aside from Dawson talking to an employee off-camera, this is all the evidence the viewers get. When only presented with this limited scope of evidence, I was convinced of the theory; what else could it be? The slices clearly don’t align.
This could be very bad news for Chuck E. Cheese. If the theory is true, first of all, that’s disgusting. Yet, if I had to guess someone that was recycling pizza, Chuck E. Cheese would probably be the first to come to mind. Chuck E. Cheese, not shockingly, immediately denied the allegations, saying that all their pizzas are made freshly, in house. But why, then, do their pizzas come out so whack? To my surprise, an upheaval of current and past Chuck E. Cheese employees all came out universally denying the theory. This was the key to understanding what is really going on behind the conspiracy.
In a now-deleted YouTube video titled “Ex-Chuck E. Cheese Employee Responds To Shane Dawson’s Conspiracy,” an ex-pizza chef explains how Chuck E. Cheese requires all their pizzas to have the same number of slices. The magic number, in this case, is 12, but since the dough is made fresh in the kitchen, the pizzas don’t come out perfectly circular. When they start cutting the pizzas, there’s not always the right number of slices and some slices come out larger than others. To compensate, some slices are cut in half and rearranged to create a whole pizza with exactly 12 slices. This explanation is the only logical solution to the mystery that I’ve encountered.
Although I may wish the theory were true, Dawson provides very limited evidence and failed to investigate beyond what was readily available. Additionally, if the theory were true, why is a YouTuber the one discovering this (instead of, I don’t know, maybe the FDA or the health department)? Dawson’s videos are entertaining; I made it through both almost-two-hour-long “documentaries.” However, due to the increased popularity and cultural significance of his recent videos (I still talk with my friends from home every time a new one is released), the editing and length of his videos are getting a little ridiculous. Obviously, it’s a YouTube video so one should expect click bait, over-dramatization, and the like, but Dawson’s conspiracy theory videos have turned into full-scale productions that almost lend legitimacy to the theories presented.
My favorite part of these conspiracy videos in particular has become the juxtaposition of theories: The ridiculous Chuck E. Cheese conspiracy was interlaced with Dawson intensely interviewing a survivor of attempted human trafficking, nearly equating the two. Moreover, Dawson’s videos can be problematic because no counter evidence is provided to the viewer. When a theory like this one receives ample attention, companies are often forced to respond publicly (always denying the claim), but it was an ex-employee who provided a reasonable explanation in this case; you really have to dig to find debunking evidence. Regardless, always do some research before jumping onto conspiracy bandwagons.