Visitations by ancient aliens, chem-trails in our skies, government mind control — there seems to be no limits to conspiracy theories. And now, the latest to be making headlines surrounds one of most people’s favorite childhood memories – Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza.
According to YouTube personality Shane Dawson — who regularly posts videos espousing various urban legends and “conspiracy theories” — the well-known pizza chain and favorite spot for kid’s birthday parties creates whole pizza pies by reusing and cobbling together uneaten slices left behind from other pizzas.
In his YouTube post, Dawson “investigates” the claim by visiting a Chuck E. Cheese’s location and ordering two pizzas, both of which come out with weird mismatched edges. One pizza — half pepperoni, half plain cheese — appears to be two different pizzas sliced in half and pushed together to resemble a whole pie. Dawson goes on to heavily imply that the pizzas aren’t in fact fresh pies made from one ball of dough and one bake, as one would assume a newly ordered pizza would be at a reputable pizza place, but were made from reused slices from other pizzas that have been reheated and “reformed” into a circular pie.
The theory was roundly denied by representatives of Chuck E. Cheese’s, who characterized the idea as “unequivocally false” in statements to the Verge and Buzzfeed. “No conspiracies here — our pizzas are made to order and we prepare our dough fresh in restaurant, which means that they’re not always perfectly uniform in shape, but always delicious,” a company spokesperson said.
Dawson Not the First to Point His Finger at Chuck E. Cheese’s
Dawson was not the first to point out that there was something “not kosher” about Chuck E. Cheese’s pizzas. Rumors about the origins of Chuck E. Cheese’s aberrant pizza shapes have been around for years. At least two Yahoo! Answers threads posed the question 10 years ago and received a handful of (mostly disgusted) responses.
According to foodie website, Eater.com, “as a national chain with more than 600 locations worldwide and presumably thousands of employees over its 39 years of existence, it seems it would be difficult to keep reusing pizza a secret for long. A seven-month-old Reddit discussion involving self-identified former Chuck E. Cheese employees, for example, doesn’t mention a conspiracy to repurpose used pizza, though it does mention a lot of other gross situations that only an insider would know.”
As one former staffer points out, the bizarre shapes of the slices is more attributable to the speed they are required to work at to cut and get the pizzas out to customers. “We hand cut all of the pizzas. We have to do it fast because we usually have 5 more coming out right behind it. I’ve seen millions of pizzas cut and they always look a little off, especially if the person is new and just learning.”
Even if there is no “Great Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Conspiracy,” it seems irregularly shaped pizzas are not the only things kids fear from Chuck E. and his pals. The very popular video game, Five Nights at Freddy’s is not so loosely based on the franchise. In the game, kids get stuck overnight in a Chuck E. Cheese-like pizza arcade, where animatronic characters similar to giant mouse Chuck E. Cheese and his friends, come to life and try to kill the kids in all sorts of nasty ways.
I can personally attest to this not simply being an unfounded conspiracy theory fear, my own daughter — at around 6 years old — was once bonked in the head and knocked off the stage by an animatronic Helen the Duck at a Chuck E. Cheese’s in Florida!