HHS Staffer Described Islam As A F**king Cult And Believed PizzaGate Conspiracy Theory

A deputy communications director at the Department of Health and Human Services has been placed on administrative leave after it emerged she was a PizzaGate conspiracy theorist who described Islam as a "f**king cult" and claimed African Americans were "way more more racist than white people."

Ximena Barreto, who previously appeared on You Tube show The Right View by Deplorable Latinas and was known as a right-wing political commentator, took up the role at HHS in December to provide "speciality media support" that includes outreach and other press-related activities.

A spokesperson for the department originally told Media Matters that HHS "has no comments on any statements she may have made before joining HHS," also stating Barreto brings a "unique background" to the role.

However, following the publication of an article about Barreto's previous comments and social media posts, the department placed her on administrative leave while the matter is being reviewed.

Posting under the screen name RepublicanChick, Barreto previously shared a video on Periscope that described Islam as a cult and claimed the religion was in favour of "killing other people and abusing women."

"That's not a religion, that's a f**king cult. Like, I'm serious. Like, that's not religion," she said in the video.

And, Barreto—who has also claimed African Americans were more likely to attack her on social media and were "the most racist people" she ever met—made a number of comments related to the PizzaGate conspiracy theory that gained traction during the 2016 presidential election.

The theory, which went viral, suggested Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex ring based out of a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant. As well as the claims being entirely false, the theory had a knock-on effect on the restaurant, which faced threats and was shot at on one occasion.