munchies.vice.com – Philadelphia-based Little Baby’s Ice Cream started attracting the wrong kind of attention after conspiracy theorists caught wind of their weird commercials.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has always had a reputation for being a little weird. When the business first launched by selling scoops and cones from pushcarts at street festivals and public events, they had the whole city buzzing about their signature flavor—Earl Grey Sriracha. When they opened their brick and mortar location in the city’s rapidly changing Fishtown neighborhood, they lured customers in with a decidedly wacky sense of décor that co-founders Pete Angevine often describes as heavily influenced by Pee Wee’s Playhouse. When they wanted to launch their first television commercials, they teamed up with Philly visual artist Doug Garth Williams to create several ads hinging on their tagline “Ice cream is a feeling” that left people feeling… unsettled.
In the seven years since they launched in 2011, Little Baby’s has become the darling of the young, artsy contingent in Philadelphia. Their ice cream is usually available at most popular music venues, and the company courts a vegan audience with their own non-dairy base, to uphold their “ice cream is for everyone” motto. Their original scoop shop, dubbed the Little Baby’s “World Headquarters,” shares a space with brick oven-fired pizza shop Pizza Brain, which dubbed itself the “world’s first and only pizza memorabilia museum and restaurant.” (A doorway connects the two spaces, where one can pass from the brightly colored Pee Wee-esque Little Baby’s parlor into a darker space with pizza-related paraphernalia hanging from the walls and ceilings.)
For years, Little Baby’s existed in its own weird little world, confusing yet delighting its dedicated patrons with good humor and high-quality small-batch ice cream. That is, until early 2017, when their weirdness was turned against them by the dark, twisted corners of the internet that can spin tales of conspiracy theories out of thin air, and wreak havoc on the lives of innocent business owners in the process. In February of 2017, Little Baby’s found itself in the midst of its very own Pizzagate.
On February 9, the PhiladelphiaInquirer reported that the ice cream shop had learned about several online chat rooms and message boards where users were discussing the company, its neighbor Pizza Brain, and perceived connections between the two businesses and child sex trafficking, a la the now infamous Comet Ping Pong debacle. Videos began appearing on YouTube—from Victurus Libertas, a conspiracy theory-peddling site whose videos were later removed from the video sharing platform—analyzing the company’s “disturbing” commercials, and drawing connections between Pizza Brain’s off-kilter Instagram presence and “some very Luciferian, very Satanic stuff.” Like the original Pizzagate, these conspiracies fomented on the message boards of sites like Voat, Reddit, and 4Chan. “What is it about pizza and pedophilia?” said Jim Blake, the narrator of the original Victurus Libertas video, commenting on an image of a little girl wearing an oversized t-shirt bearing the words “Pizza Slut” as a riff on the logo of the chain Pizza Hut.
The business owners reported the comments and videos to the respective social media networks, but no police reports were made. “What are you going to tell [the cops]: ‘Go to the YouTube comments section?” Angevine told the Inquirer.
I’m slacking on my Philadelphia food shit I guess because I don’t think I’ve ever been to Little Baby’s, and I’m 15 minutes away smh I’m going to have to change that. This just sounds like a case of people taking some artistic/weird shit a bit too seriously but yo I often wish we could do that quote above….how great would it be if we could just call the cops on the cesspool that is a comment section.