Kids Shipped in Armoires? The Person Who Started the Wayfair Conspiracy Speaks

A new conspiracy theory surrounding products advertised by the home goods and furniture seller Wayfair now joins previous unsubstantiated allegations like Pizzagate regarding worldwide pedophilic sex trafficking among the economic elite.

The Wayfair conspiracy theory that became a social media sensation on Friday began with a post to the Conspiracy subreddit, which promotes user-submitted conspiracy theories, many thinly evidenced or unevidenced, to more than a million subscribers.

"Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this makes me sick to my stomach if it's true," redditor PrincessPeach1987 posted on Thursday, alongside a screenshot from Wayfair's mobile website featuring four storage cabinets—products named Neriah, Yaritza, Samiyah and Alyvia—that cost between $12,699.99 and $14,499.99.

Newsweek reached out to Wayfair regarding the human trafficking conspiracy theories, including a request for an explanation of the high-priced items. The company provided this statement in response:

"There is, of course, no truth to these claims. The products in question are industrial grade cabinets that are accurately priced. Recognizing that the photos and descriptions provided by the supplier did not adequately explain the high price point, we have temporarily removed the products from site to rename them and to provide a more in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point."

The conspiracy theory has been elaborated on other social media platforms, particularly Twitter, expanding on the original post and its assertion that very expensive or overpriced cabinets with human names is in itself evidence of human trafficking conducted more or less in the open, with Wayfair offering humans for sale under the guise of selling cabinetry.

In chat conversations with Newsweek, PrincessPeach1987 described seeking out garage storage with their husband when they came across the expensive cabinet listings. While they at first surmised that they may have stumbled across unlisted drop shipping sales, Facebook posts also suspicious of the pricey listings made them more inclined to listen to their suspicions that there may be something more to the listings.

PrincessPeach1987, who declined to reveal their non-redditor identity, described themselves as "involved in a local organization that helps victims of human trafficking," which has led her to be "suspicious most of the time now." They characterized their Reddit post as less of a direct accusation and more of an effort to "see if anyone else had more details."

Prominent arrests—like that of Jeffrey Epstein for the alleged trafficking and sexual assault of underage girls—have shown that extensive pedophilia networks do exist, but the "details" of the Wayfair theory do not make a credible case.

epstein-jeffrey
Protestors hold up images of Jeffrey Epstein outside of a federal courthouse in New York City after his 2019 arrest. Before his death in federal detention, Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Subsequent elaborations on the theory included a user review on the Wayfair website for a previously unrelated, $5,000 fireproof filing cabinet, which included a 2016 user review from someone in Walnut Creek, California. The San Francisco exurb, with a population of more than 70,000, was also the location of a February arrest for human trafficking, child pornography and attempted kidnapping, which was allegedly connected to a wider child sex trafficking ring. "Walnut Sauce" is also an alleged code word central to Pizzagate conspiracy theories.

Supporters of the theory have also urged skeptics to use a Russian search engine to search for the stock keeping unit number (SKU) associated with various Wayfair products, which returns image results full of children in bathing suits. However, none of the SKU searches return images of a single child, which would seem to run counter to the implication that the Wayfair SKUs secretly provide data regarding the specific child to be purchased. In addition: following the search engine instructions with any random string of numbers returns the exact same results.

Supporters of the theory have also drawn connections to June 2019 protests by Wayfair employees, which objected to the company selling furnishings to a Texas detention facility for migrant children. The facility subsequently closed. However, protesting Wayfair employees never mentioned setting up public listings for humans.

Still, the Wayfair conspiracy theory has begun to take on a life of its own on social media and will likely become a part of the extensive mythology regarding child sex trafficking brought to national prominence in 2016 with Pizzagate.

Pizzagate alleged that a child sex and human trafficking ring operated by high-ranking Democratic Party officials was run, in part or completely, through the non-existent basement of a Washington D.C. area pizza shop. While easily debunked "evidence" began to pile up—Newsweek previously documented how transgressive public art, including footage from concerts, was falsely recontextualized as secret Satanic rituals—the crux of the claims relied on emails stolen from the personal account of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and published by WikiLeaks in 2016.

While the so-called "Podesta emails" contained multiple newsworthy revelations—including the content of speeches Clinton delivered to Goldman Sachs and the leak of questions to the Clinton campaign in advance of a CNN town hall with 2016 Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders—Pizzagate was built on the unsubstantiated claim that certain words within the emails were in fact coded allusions to child sex trafficking. In the arbitrary associations developed by conspiracy theorists, various food words, including "cheese," "map," "walnut sauce" and, of course, "pizza," were actually coded indications of people's preferred child victims.

The Wayfair conspiracy theory shares a similar pattern, drawing arbitrary inferences without any evidence.