Love conspiracy theories? We JUST LAUNCHED a podcast about conspiracies, cults, true crime, and more. Listen to Not Another True Crime Podcast here!
We live for celebrity gossip. From reality TV shows to tabloids, we cannot get enough about who our favorite celebs are dating or what they’re eating for lunch. Understandably so, when a celebrity dies, we have a stronger emotional response than when our great aunt once removed dies. Need proof? Both Princess Di and Michael Jackson’s funeral were televised and it is estimated that over 30 million people tuned in to each of those. To put it in perspective, that’s more views than Trump’s inauguration and way more than the number of people who showed up to your aunt’s funeral. Ouch. But death isn’t just what people fixate on. People today need reasonings for everything, which explains the countless celebrity conspiracy theories surrounding an unexpected death, a pregnancy, or even a slightly weird behavior. Get ready to question everything.
1. Avril Lavigne Was Replaced By An Impersonator
People think our fav Sk8er Girl actually committed suicide in 2003 and was replaced by a doppelgänger. The theory goes that Melissa Vandella allegedly filled in for Lavigne before her “death” to confuse the paparazzi, but when she did die, Vandella stepped in to continue her fame. Here are their reasonings: one, her nose changed (have these people ever heard of a nose job??). Secondly, her image went from punk to more “bubble gum-y.” Although I don’t argue with this, music artists change their image often. Just look at Miley Cyrus!
2. Beyoncé Was Never Pregnant With Blue Ivy
I think I could dedicate a whole article to the celebrity conspiracy theories involving just Beyoncé. Besides the fact that people claim her to be the Queen of the Illuminati, people believe she and Jay-Z used a surrogate for their pregnancy with Blue. The strongest “case” these people have is her appearance on an Australia talk Show called Sunday Night. When Bey goes to sit down, her
fake belly dress folds in an unnatural way that convinced people she was wearing a prosthetic stomach. I think the most absurd “evidence” for this conspiracy theory is that there are no pictures of Beyoncé giving birth to Blue. Hmm maybe she didn’t want pics of her platinum vagine online? Just a thought.
3. Britney Spears Worked for George Bush
Ha. I think this may be my favorite of the absurd celebrity conspiracy theories. Ever wonder if it was a coincidence that Britney Spears had some public scandal whenever a government incident also occurred? I’m Canadian, so I didn’t, but maybe you did. People think the government paid Spears to have some public scandal every time the Bush government messed up to distract the public. If this is true, maybe Trump should start paying Kanye West?
4. Marilyn Monroe Was Murdered
Monroe was found dead in her home on August 5, 1962, and her death was ruled “acute barbiturate poisoning by accidental overdose.” People believe this isn’t the case. Due to Monroe’s intimate relationships with the Kennedy brothers, some speculate that her death was organized by the CIA or mafia because she knew too much about them. This gets me thinking if this were true, no one would ever know and how many other deaths were “accidents.” *Looks over shoulder*
5. Princess Diana Was Killed By The Royal Family
There are actually so many theories as to how Princess Diana’s accident was really a plot orchestrated by the royal family that the British government opened an investigation called Operation Paget to examine all of them. The most popular conspiracy theory says that Diana was having an affair, got pregnant from said affair, and the royal family killed her to cover it up. Even stranger? Diana herself believed the royals were after her and that her car had been tampered with… that same car that crashed and killed her. In the third episode of Not Another True Crime Podcast, we delve into each conspiracy theory and its plausibility. Listen below.
6. Elvis Presley is Alive
After his death in 1977, people added another theory to the master celebrity conspiracy theories list. This time, people believe that the King of Rock actually faked his own death to go into hiding. The Elvis Sighting Society (yes, it’s a real thing) is dedicated to publicizing when “Presley” is spotted today. People even claim he was an extra in Home Alone. But can you imagine if Elvis was really posing as an Elvis impersonator on the Vegas strip? LOL.
7. Michael Jackson Faked His Own Death
People believe that Jackson faked his own death to escape fame and to save himself from bankruptcy. Since Michael has been famous since he was a kid, his whole life has been followed by the paparazzi, so I definitely wouldn’t blame him for wanting some normalcy. Further, it is speculated that his financial status wasn’t good near the time of his “death.” By faking his death, he knew his sales would skyrocket and he would no longer be in a financial crisis. If this celebrity conspiracy theory is true, it’s a pretty damn good business move on the King of Pop’s part.
Want more conspiracy theories? Listen to Not Another True Crime podcast here!
Images: Gokil / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
I hate that millennials get so much shit for blowing all their money on avocado toast and matcha tea. Why doesn’t anyone recognize that all we care about is blaming all our horrible qualities on astrology, ditching plans, and watching conspiracy theory videos? It’s honestly kind of rude. Anyway, I’ve done us all a favor and have created a guide to which conspiracy theory you’ll be obsessed with based on your zodiac sign. You’re welcome.
Aries – Jonestown
Aries are natural born leaders and love organization, so they’ll eat up anything about cults just like they’d dive into a sale at the Container Store. A pretty good cult conspiracy to get sucked into is Jonestown. If you’ve consumed like, any kind of true crime anything, you’ve probably heard of it, but if you haven’t, here’s the gist. Jim Jones (no, not the rapper), started a cult called The Peoples Temple, and convinced 900 people to drink Flavor Aid (similar to Kool-Aid but not Kool-Aid, common misconception) laced with cyanide for a mass suicide. The conspiracy is that it was actually a mass murder and that the whole thing might have been connected to MK-Ultra, the government’s mind control program. Like I said, every respectable true crime thing has a Jonestown episode, but the Conspiracy Theories podcast from Parcast has a pretty solid two-part special on it.
Taurus – The Mandela Effect
Taurus is the most stubborn sign of the zodiac, so the theory behind The Mandela Effect is something you guys probably already believe to be fact in your daily lives. It’s based on the fact that some people legitimately think Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 80s when he actually totally became the president of South Africa and didn’t die until 2013. In the most Taurus shit in all eternity, people think that this means that there are actually parallel universes, and there is a universe where Nelson Mandela really did die in the 80s. This is probably less of a conspiracy theory and more of an elaborate scam created by a Taurus to win an argument. Anyway, here’s a video that explains the whole concept to kickstart your internet rabbit hole. It has the cutest fucking dog in the world in it.
Gemini – Lindsay Lohan’s Murdered Twin
Geminis are the twins of the zodiac, so I’m going to get really lazy here and toss you guys this thrown-together twin conspiracy theory. Have you heard of the theory that Lindsay Lohan actually did have a twin? But Disney murdered here because she was a shitty actress and it was cheaper to just pay Lindsay than to pay them both? I’m pretty sure this was just started by some Twitter user who was bored one day and is now suspended, but here’s a low quality video to get you thinking. I mean, what’s more believable? The fact that Disney killed off a child star, or that a movie in the 90s had a high enough production value and LiLo is a good enough actress to have played twins? Actually, I’m going to prove this wrong by assuming that Dina Lohan would have sold the story to E! by now.
Cancer – Kurt Cobain Was Murdered
Cancers are sentimental, emotional, and family-oriented, so what better conspiracy to tug on your heartstrings than the never-ending saga of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love? Kurt Cobain died by suicide in 1994, but headlines surrounding conspiracy theories tied to his death have been making headlines as recently as this month. Courtney and her daughter, Frances Bean, are involved in a lawsuit involving Frances’s ex-husband and like, nine different conspiracy theories. If that wasn’t enough, a conspiracy theorist failed to get the city of Seattle to release the crime scene photos from Kurt’s death last month. There are tons of documentaries about this, but if you feel like really splurging, you can pay $4 to watch “Soaked in Bleach” on Amazon Prime.
Leo – Kanye West Is David Bowie’s Chosen Successor
Kanye West is technically a Gemini, but he’s almost as obsessed with himself as Leos are. Leos are known for loving attention and feeling like they’re destined for the limelight, and no conspiracy speaks to that more than the theory that David Bowie predicted that Kanye West would be destined to become a chosen musical prodigy, or whatever. This is basically a Leo dream.
Virgo – The Sugar Conspiracy
Okay, so, you know how it’s common knowledge that the tobacco industry fucked with research to make it seem like cigarettes weren’t that bad? Well, this conspiracy claims that the sugar industry has been doing the same thing since the 70s. You vegans… I mean, Virgos, probably already know about this one, but if you don’t, you should give this documentary a watch. It claims that the sugar industry is trying to hide that it is the main villain behind heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Libra – Crack Cocaine Conspiracy
Libra is a sign represented by the scales, so balance, fairness, and equality are important to you betches. You should totally watch Kill the Messenger. It’s based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb, who was investigating the crack cocaine epidemic in the 90s and was basically like “oh shit, I just uncovered a massive government conspiracy theory.” He reported that the CIA was facilitating crack being smuggled into America. It’s super complicated, and the movie clears it up, but in short it’s kind of like how Kris calls the paps before her kids go out to lunch so they know to take pictures of them.
Scorpio – The NXIVM Sex Cult
Scorpio is a fixed sign that’s driven by leadership. Scorpios are also low-key pretty shady and love to be in control of everything. I’m going to say it’s safe to assume that if you’re a Scorpio, the alleged sex cult that started as a pyramid scheme may be at least mildly interesting to you. NXIVM is allegedly an insane sex cult that brainwashed people through seminars that were marketed as empowering. There are tons of conspiracies linked to this, so if you’re looking to really dive into the depths of the internet (because you’re an obsessive Scorpio), you’ll eat this shit up. I mean, there’s even an alleged connection to Stormy Daniels. It has everything.
Sagittarius – The Earth is Flat
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Sagittarius is the travel blogger of the zodiac. I’m not going to dignify the conspiracy theory that the Earth is flat with any kind of explanation or links to insane YouTube videos or podcasts. However, I will tell you that if you want to learn more, Tila Tequila’s Twitter account is probably a good place to start. Oh, wait. That’s suspended, because she’s insane. You could try Lincoln from The Bachelorette. Anyway, I’m not saying Sagittarians would actually believe that the Earth is flat, but I am suggesting that you guys would be really into this conspiracy and use it as an excuse to start some travel Instagram. Sagittarians are known to welcome very philosophical thinking, so y’all would definitely consider it to try to scam some poor boutique hotel in Australia out of a free stay.
Capricorn – Everything is a Scam
As a Capricorn, you’re pessimistic and practical AF. You probably wouldn’t want to waste a whole lot of time reading conspiracy theories, anyway, so you might as well learn about some shit that might actually be real. You should definitely watch the series Underworld, Inc. on Netflix. It basically attempts to reveal that everything in the entire world, like Las Vegas for example, is a scam.
Aquarius – Heaven’s Gate
Aquarians are weird as hell and practically the conspiracy theorists of the zodiac. You water bearers would probably be into any conspiracy on this list, but the Heaven’s Gate cult that orchestrated a mass suicide in 1997 will check every unusual interest off your list. It has aliens. It has UFO-based religious groups. It’s like, a one-stop shop for everything you could ever need. There’s a podcast called Heaven’s Gate on Spotify (or wherever you like to listen to your podcasts, I don’t know your life) that you like, need to listen to immediately.
Pisces – Mona Lisa Conspiracy Theories
Pisces are definitely some of the most artistic people, so you should prob read up on all of the conspiracy theories linked to one of the most famous pieces of art of all time, the Mona Lisa. This thing is ancient AF, so people have been making up shit about it since the beginning of time. Some theories make more sense than others, like the conspiracy that the painting was stolen to create forgeries. The rest are just probably good to get into while you’re stoned, like the idea that it’s proof that aliens are real.
By now you’ve probably seen the Kendall Jenner pepsi ad and read over one thousand think pieces on how stupid, “tone deaf,” and just generally fucked it was. As far as that debate goes, we have already participated and have nothing left to add. However, now that the dust is settling and the post-Pepsi hangover is finally kicking in, we have to ask the one question that is on any amateur conspiracy theorist’s mind: did Pepsi do this on purpose for attention?
As betches, we all know how to recognize when someone is doing something just for attention. We spotted it when Madeline wore that “desperate” look to the Audrey & Elvis party, and we can spot it now. Plus, as avid followers of the Kardashians, we know that anything, literally anything, involving that family is meticulously planned out in a secret underground Beverly Hills bunker and approved by Kris Jenner herself. Kendall has not taken a shit in the past 21 years without Kris’ approval, so there’s no way she didn’t know about this.
But like, what do media people say about this? Well, they’re divided. In a story published by the LA Times, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants Eric Schiffer said “I think played it the way they intended to, adding that the “net effect” of the ad was positive “because the world is talking about it.”
It’s kind of like that one week in high school when I caused a brief scandal by dumping one member of the Oakton High School theater community to go to homecoming with a different (more handsome) member of the Oakton Theater community. Were people calling me a slut behind my back? Sure. But was I also the talk of the town just in time for one of OHS’ most important fall social events? You fucking know it.
And here’s the thing: Pepsi is no stranger to pulling controversial ads aimed at young people. In 1989, Madonna (woman from the eighties who made out with Britney at the VMAS) teamed up with Pepsi during the Grammy’s to debut her song “Like A Prayer” with a two minute Pepsi commercial, which was also supposed to announce that Pepsi would be sponsoring Mads’ next world tour. But then, after the official “Like A Prayer” video was released and featured Madonna dancing in front of burning crosses and having interracial sex in a church pew (casual), Pepsi was forced to pull the ad and cancel Madonna’s contract.
So like, if Pepsi has fucked up like this once, how could they fuck up like this again? I mean, sure, 1989 is like one whole Taylor Swift ago, but people usually remember when they spark international controversy.
Unless….that’s exactly what Pepsi wanted.
Think about it, when was the last time you were affected by Pepsi in your day-to-day life? When was the last time you even saw someone with a Pepsi? TBH I forgot they existed after they stopped using Britney as their spokeswoman. I’d kind of assumed they were dead. But now, for better or for worse, Pepsi is back in the media again. In that same LA Times article, Schiffer estimated that Pepsi probably earned somewhere between $300 million and $400 million in free media coverage due to their controversial ad. In Kardashian terms, this kind of financial windfall is referred to as “Tuesday.”
In an article called “Pepsi’s New Ad Is A Total Success,” The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost reminds us that “Before it’s an ad for shampoo or cat food or cola, every advertisement is first an ad for capitalism.” And apart from the fact that he sounds exactly like every hipster you dated for like two minutes before realizing he was too annoying to spend time with, Bogost is right. Pepsi got exactly what Pepsi wanted, which is basically for people to be talking about Pepsi.
Again, this goes back to the Shit Talking Principle, which basically states that any person who is being talked shit about is getting attention, thereby they are popular, and thereby they are socially successful. It’s like, Newton’s fifth law or something.
Let’s not forget that this ad had to go through tons of people before it went to air, meaning there were many, many opportunities for someone at Pepsi to say “Hey maybe we shouldn’t suggest that Kendall Jenner solve police brutality with a refreshing Pepsi?” or “Hey guys it doesn’t really make sense that Kendall Jenner would walk off of a modeling set to join a protest that appears to be in favor of nothing.” Are they really trying to get us to believe that a group of some of the highest paid ad execs in the business had no idea the ad would be taken this way? Have they even seen Twitter? You can barely RT a Spongebob meme without some egg coming out of the woodwork to tell you how Spongebob is actually racist because it perpetuates harmful plankton stereotypes. Pepsi had to know this is how the ad would go.
More recently, the same Atlantic piece points out that Pepsi was roasted back in 2009 for a bizarre leaked design strategy that literally compared Pepsi’s new swirly-spiral trademark to The Mona Lisa and was full of batshit diagrams like this:
Wtf is this? What does it mean? Why does the little Pepsi jump us to the future when the big Pepsi is already jumping us to the same future? Whose DNA are they referring to? What is happening in that little white squiggle line that changes the world from convention to innovation? I have so many questions.
So you see, even back in 2009, people were wise to Pepsi’s shady, attention whore behavior (THINKPIECE IDEA: Is Pepsi The Vanessa Of Soft Drinks?) with some media outlets calling the entire thing a “hoax released as part of a ‘viral marketing campaign by the drink firm to get attention from the internet.’”
Bogost ends his Pepspiracy theory by stating, “The genius of this decision is that it satisfies everyone. The Kardashian fanatics got their Kendall Jenner fix. The agitators get to feel that they have successfully redressed a big brand company; a minor victory in a time of so many defeats. The earnest, probably-white folk who enjoyed Pepsi’s alternative to constant politicization got their saccharine status-quo and now they also get a branded excuse to issue a counter-offensive against the progressives who insisted on bringing politics into innocuous soft drinks (surely it’s coming). The media get their scoops, and their think pieces (like this one). And these outcomes, incompatible as though they are all return attention to Pepsi—which is all it really wanted in the first place.”
TL;DR: Pepsi are evil geniuses who found a way to make an ad so stupid that it pissed off everyone, thereby getting attention from everyone, which was the point of the stupid ad in the first place. Please remind me to employ this strategy next time one of my friends think that they can have a wedding that is just a “celebration of love” and isn’t somehow also about me.
Pepsi, whether or not you knew your ad was going to blow up into a heaping trash fire that threatened to engulf the Kardashians along with it, we don’t know, but what we do know is that your shady behavior is hereby noted and that your pettiness level is hereby declared high. Which may or may not have been what you wanted all along.
Now BRB while I use my incredible investigative skills to help solve the crisis in Syria and stop World War III from fucking up our summer vacation. You’re welcome in advance.