Fact check: Video falsely presents joke as confession to QAnon blood-harvesting conspiracy theory

The claim: Comedian Whitney Cummings admitted to using children’s blood to avoid aging

Social media users are misrepresenting a clip of two comedians joking about one of QAnon’s most extreme conspiracy theories as evidence of its validity.

QAnon followers say Hollywood and Washington elites run a secret child sex trafficking ring and harvest children’s blood. The conspiracy theory says elites then extract an anti-aging chemical called adrenochrome to maintain their youth.

That claim is baseless. However, a recent TikTok video that shows comedians Whitney Cummings and Joe Rogan joking around has helped fuel the conspiracy theory.

“Dude, this is what I do with baby blood for my skin,” Cummings says in the video.

“You do that? You doing that baby blood?” Rogan asks.

“Yeah, the adrenochrome. I have a sprinkler. I just spray it all over my face,” Cummings replies.

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The video was first shared on TikTok on May 29 with text saying, “What the hell is this,” and hashtags that identified Cummings and Rogan as comedians. But it has since spread to Instagram, where it is being shared without any indication of the larger context.

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Several May 30 Instagram posts of the clip referenced unproven claims about secret cults in their captions. One commenter went as far as to suggest Rogan “wears children’s skin on his face.”.

By June 2, the clip had more than 167,400 views on TikTok and 6,500 views on Instagram.

USA TODAY reached out to several accounts that shared the clip for comment. The TikTok user could not be messaged.

A joke, not a confession

The larger context in which the statement was made indicates it was a joke.

The clip comes from the May 19 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast and shows Cummings and Rogan watching a scene from the 1998 vampire, superhero movie “Blade.” In that scene, blood pours out of a sprinkler system onto a crowd of vampires.

Cummings then made the reference to the adrenochrome component of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Cummings rep confirms she was kidding

In an email to USA TODAY, a representative from the United Talent Agency, which represents Cummings, confirmed her statement was not meant to be taken seriously.

“I can confirm that Whitney was most certainly joking about QAnon, and that it was in no way a confession to give validity to an insane conspiracy theory,” wrote Dom Faust, assistant to UTA’s head of comedy.

Cummings has previously used QAnon dogma as comedic material and has frequently discussed the way comedians explore controversy.

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At the beginning of the podcast, Cummings and Rogan discussed how comedians are frequently taken out of context.

“We are supposed to be explorers. We are supposed to play devil’s advocate and have hot takes,” she said. “I’m going to say something not true that I think is funny and then defend it with jokes.”.

Rogan did not respond to USA TODAY’s requests for comment.

This is not the first time social media users have misrepresented entertainment as evidence of the QAnon conspiracy theory. In February, USA TODAY debunked several viral images of a Quentin Tarantino horror movie set that QAnon supporters shared as proof of cannibalism.

Our rating: False

The claim that Cummings admitted to using children’s blood to avoid aging is FALSE, based on our research. Cumming’s team confirmed her comment on Rogan’s podcast was intended as a joke. QAnon is a baseless conspiracy theory.

Our fact-check sources:

  • USA TODAY, Aug. 31, 2020, How QAnon and other dark forces are radicalizing Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic rages and election looms.
  • Wired, July 31, 2020, The Dark Virality of a Hollywood Blood-Harvesting Conspiracy.
  • Spotify, The Joe Rogan Experience, May 19, #1654 – Whitney Cummings.
  • YouTube, Yoda, April 19, 2012, Blade (1998) – Opening Scene (HD).
  • Dom Faust, June 1, Email exchange with USA TODAY.
  • Whitney Cummings, Sept. 17, 2020, tweet.
  • USA TODAY, Feb. 23, Fact check: QAnon post mischaracterizes Quentin Tarantino film images as cannibalism scene.
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