Only over the weekend was I able to examine the images related to #Pizzagate, the debunked Internet rumor that sent an armed North Carolina man into a D.C. pizza parlor in search of child prostitutes allegedly – and ridiculously – held captive by Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager.
One of the supposed subliminal messages was contained in Comet Ping Pong Pizza’s entryway – a sign that included innocent images of the moon and stars. You can see it above.
We have been here before, though only people of a certain age in metro Atlanta will recognize the lie. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a similar slander was afflicting Proctor & Gamble, the household product company that peddled everything from toothpaste to soap. Its logo was a man in the moon with 13 stars.
There is nothing sinister in the logo's design, let alone a hidden code that reveals the true intent of the company. P&G's "man in the moon" trademark was adopted in 1851, at a time when goods were more commonly marked with visual trademarks than with companies' names. The ability to read was not as widespread then as it is now, so companies offering an array of consumer goods rather than just one product had strong reason to devise memorable pictorial logos for their wares.
The thirteen stars were an homage to the original thirteen colonies of the United States of America, and the man in the moon was simply a popular decorative device of the times.
But that didn’t stop a rumor from sweeping through Georgia’s most religious corners. One of the purveyors of the misinformation turned out to be Guy Sharpe, metro Atlanta’s most popular weatherman, who also happened to be a Methodist lay minister. He spoke of Proctor & Gamble’s alleged satanic ties from the pulpit. And was fired from WXIA-TV as a result, when Proctor & Gamble threatened legal action.
A look at the gentleman, who was much esteemed:
Sharpe died in 2004 at age 75. From his obituary in the AJC:
Sharpe's strong religious beliefs got him into hot water with the Procter & Gamble Co., according to [Ray]Moore, a news director at WSB-TV.
"He'd heard that the company had the number 666 on one of its products or labels and that's supposed to be the mark of Satan," Moore said. Sharpe repeated the rumor in public, prompting Procter & Gamble to threaten a lawsuit, he said.