Does the film "Out of Shadows" prove a child-raping satanic cult controls the U.S. government and Hollywood, and operated out of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor? No, that's not true: The film declares that the lid came off in a leading Democrat's leaked emails, in which "pizza" is used as secret code for child sex. But the filmmakers provide nothing to support that or any of the other claims put forth. The film provides no direct documentary evidence or victim statement or eyewitness to prove that government and media are run by a network of satanic child molesters, asking viewers to accept on pure faith its allegations of felony crimes. It also offers no circumstantial evidence, such as fingerprints, financial records or license plates from which a responsible inference can be drawn.
This seminal recitation of QAnon beliefs appears in the film (archived here) which was posted to Vimeo on July 18, 2020, under the title "Out Of Shadows". It opened:
Why do you believe what you believe? Because at some point in your life you trusted the information someone was giving you.
Online, the film appeared like this, as of April 15, 2021:
OUT OF SHADOWS from P4K Videos on Vimeo.
The overall conspiracy claim in the film is undermined by its multiple false claims about such matters as a supposed embargo on investigations into the CIA, about the origin of the name "Hollywood," and about the meaning of the word "television." The film seeks to inoculate itself from being dismissed as a "conspiracy theory" by falsely claiming the phrase was invented in the 1960s by the CIA to discredit critics. Though it presents itself as a documentary, the one hour and 17 minute film adds emotionally manipulative music and misleading background montages in ways that violate fundamental principles of journalistic integrity, casually libeling Hollywood stars by using their images behind descriptions of felonious activity by elites.
The film makes dozens of extraordinary claims without commensurately extraordinary evidence, but this fact check will only address the main claims, providing time codes where they appear in the video.
Claim: "Pizza" is a code word for child sex and proof of the existence of a ring of high-level government officials who rape and traffic children.
At 56 minutes, former celeb-news journalist Liz Crokin starts her defense of her reporting on the PizzaGate conspiracy. Debunked by the FBI and local law enforcement, the PizzaGate claim is that Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign manager is part of a vast child sex ring that operated out of the nonexistent basement of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C.
The evidence of campaign manager John Podesta's involvement, Crokin says, is in emails hackers stole from Podesta's campaign computer and released to the public through WikiLeaks:
...they are absolutely littered with code words and many of these code words are food words such as pizza...It was obvious from the get-go that these were codewords for something else because the context they were used in did not make sense.
The film shows excerpts of emails in which Podesta suggests friends and co-workers join him for a short meeting over pizza. Crokin, at 57 minutes into the video, says: "You can get a service for a half an hour, you can get a massage for a half an hour, but you can't get food for half an hour. This absolutely makes no sense." That claim that is disproven every working day of the year by short business breakfasts, lunches, and dinners over pizza and other fast food.
At 59 minutes, Crokin objects to past debunking of her declarations: "If it's been debunked, explain the code words. No one to this day, including John Podesta himself, can explain the code words in his emails." But, Crokin provides no evidence of textual analysis, frequency analysis or other basic code-breaking methods to prove "pizza" means anything other than flatbread with toppings. She just declares, without explanation and without corroborating events or evidence, that it doesn't make sense to invite someone for pizza or follow up on a meeting to ask who left a handkerchief behind.
Claim: The elite pedophile ring's control of the media is proven by a lack of investigations of the CIA, which is part of the conspiracy
After discussing authentic revelations of CIA mind-control experiments of the 1970s and CIA efforts to plant propaganda in films and the news media dating back to World War II, longtime CIA critic Kevin Shipp says, at 19 minutes, 15 seconds, this: "When was the last time you saw a major media outlet do a serious investigative report on the actions of the CIA? There's a reason for that."
This ignores significant and damaging investigative reports about the CIA, including:
- The New Yorker magazine's 2020 investigation of CIA targeting of a whistleblower;
- The New York Times' 2014 reporting, which showed the CIA had employed thousands of former Nazis;
- Pro Publica's 2011 investigation into the Obama Administration's continued use of "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects to secret prisons;
- Dana Priest's Pulitzer-Prize-winning revelations in the Washington Post in 2006, that the CIA was operating secret interrogation sites in countries where torture is permitted;
- Gary Webb's "Dark Alliance," a 1999 book that detailed CIA involvement in drug trafficking;
Claim: Hollywood was named for a drug druids used to weave and cast spells
The film's director, former stuntman Mike Smith, says, at 32 minutes, 45 seconds that one clue of the film industry's complicity in satanist mind control is that "Hollywood" was named for the holly trees druids used to make wines with to cast spells to control people. The Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History has documented the real story: a wealthy land developer's wife loved the name of a friend's Illinois estate, "Hollywood" and convinced her husband to name his Cahuenga Pass subdivision the same. The 1887 plat map bears the name. The film center didn't arise there until about 1915.
Similarly, Smith says, at 33 minutes, 26 seconds that the word "Tell-A-Vision" reveals its purpose as a mechanism of mind control. But the word is derived from ancient Greek and Latin words that mean far and sight, which was what the electronic television inventor, Philo Farnsworth, called it.
Claim: the CIA created the term "conspiracy theory" to discredit those who suspected it of killing President John F. Kennedy in 1963
At 25 minutes, 39 seconds, Shipp says "And by the way, the term labeling people as conspiracy theorists was invented by the CIA to deflect the attention over the JFK assassination. They invented that word as a way to shut down any scrutiny or critical investigation of what they were doing." The Oxford English Dictionary, offers an example of the phrase in use 54 years before the Kennedy assassination. Prof. Mike Caulfield, who teaches fact-checking at Washington State University, has found that newspapers were using the term 100 years before JFK. "The first mention found in newspapers is in 1863... to derisively refer to a set of allegedly less educated people who see a secret plot when a simple non-conspiratorial narrative has much more explanatory power."
Claim: Southern California is beset by uninvestigated satanists who perform rituals that damage the "pelvic floor" muscles of young victims.
At 9 minutes, 10 seconds, the film-maker and main narrator, Mike Smith, says his physical therapist told him "Michael, I am one of the only pelvic floor therapists in Southern California. When these satanic people and these evil people do their rituals to little girls and women and boys, who do you think puts them back together? I do. It's completely real and you need to look into it." Subtitles across the bottom of the screen read: "Her identity is being protected due to the sensitivity of her profession." If she exists and her claim were true, California has a mandatory reporting law that would likely require her to report her observations to law enforcement. There is no publicly available evidence she has done so and California cases like the McMartin Pre-School and Oak Hill Chapel prosecutions fell apart when charges were found to have been false.
The FBI's Behavioral Science Unit was assigned to investigate ritual child abuse by cults in the 1990s. False and exaggerated allegations were making it harder to prosecute real sex abuse cases, Agent Kenneth Lanning wrote in a 1992 training manual. The excerpt below is from his conclusion:
(Source: Department of Justice Investigator's Guide to Allegations of Ritual Child Abuse Screengrab Fri Apr 16 11:52
Claim: Critical thinking is good, but you must trust your gut
Throughout the film, Smith, Shipp and Crokin repeatedly say they arrived at their conclusions through critical thinking, but both Smith and Shipp describe an emotional process that led them to believe in the conspiracy.
At 12 minutes, 7 seconds, Smith said he withdrew from mainstream news and information and read websites and blogs by people who claim the conspiracy is real. He said that retreat from the consensus view of reality was essential: "I wanted to read it, absorb it, and trust what my gut told me."
Similarly, Shipp encouraged views, at 51 minutes, 32 seconds, to let go of what the rest of the world thinks:
Most people don't want to cross the psychological line that this stuff is going on. We all have a mental defense mechanism. It's like finally admitting there's an elite pedophile ring. I mean, most people just don't want to go there ...Psychologically, you lose your safety, your security, and whatever innocence you have when you realize that this stuff is really going on and it's a chore to cross over that barrier and realize 'Oh my gosh, this stuff is really happening' and that's why it takes critical thinking. People have got to look at this stuff critically and see what they're being fed so they can cross that psychological line that they can see it when it's right in front of them.
Crokin described it as a process of piecing together at the story. As the film ends, Crokin, at 1 hour, 13 minutes, 58 seconds, describes her process:
There's not one smoking gun, there's many small smoking guns that you have to piece together and you have to use critical thinking to understand this stuff is real.