David DePape, the man now charged with attempted homicide and a raft of other felonies for allegedly attacking Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer in the couple’s San Francisco home early this morning, has a long history of sharing extreme ideas online, including several conspiracy theories popular among far-right conservatives.
At the time of his arrest on Friday, DePape, 42, maintained a subscription-model blog where he vented rage over Covid-19 precautions and espoused beliefs shared by the conspiracist QAnon movement. The page also includes dedicated sections for Holocaust denial, climate change denial, transphobia, racism, misogyny, voter fraud conspiracy theories, Second Amendment absolutism, screeds against groomers and “pedos,” and trashing actress Amber Heard, the ex-wife of Johnny Depp.
DePape posted similar hard-right and conspiratorial content on his Facebook page, which the platform deleted on Friday.
In an Aug. 23 post on his personal blog, DePape wrote, “How did I get into all this. Gamer gate it was gamer gate.” Gamergate was an online misogynist harassment campaign that stretched across 2014 and 2015. It originated as a backlash to feminism and women in the video game industry but morphed into a strain of alt-right ideology that many argue radicalized legions of disaffected men.
San Francisco Police say that DePape entered the Pelosis’ home around 2:30 a.m. this morning. Multiple reports confirmed that he confronted Paul Pelosi, asking, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” Speaker Pelosi was not at home during the attack. Police further said that they witnessed the two men struggling over a hammer, which DePape then used to assault Pelosi before officers tackled the suspect. Pelosi, who suffered blunt-force injuries to his head and body, is reportedly undergoing emergency head surgery as a result.
“He wasn’t a bad kid,” Teresa DePape, who is married to his stepfather, told Rolling Stone by phone on Friday. “But life will do weird things to everybody.”
DePape’s digital trail extends beyond Gamergate. In 2007 and 2008, he was spamming Reddit with links to an earlier blog, “The Loving God.” The last link he shared on Reddit directed to a post on the subject of “Human Sacrifice,” which he wrote is “more common than you think.”
“Other than Satanism I know of at least one Major religion with millions of devout followers around the world. That believes in the power of human sacrifice,” he claimed, going on to allude to the Christian rite of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. “This evil religion is so common you probably have heard of it. You may even practice it,” he concluded. Speaker Pelosi, a devout Catholic, received Communion during a papal Mass at the Vatican this summer.
During the late ’00s, DePape was also active on Indybay, “a non-commercial, democratic collective of Bay Area independent media makers and media outlets.” In a 2008 thread, he can be seen railing against the prospective loss of San Francisco’s public access cable station alongside a woman named Gypsy Taub, who wanted to produce a nude TV show for the station called My Naked Truth.
Taub’s other posts on Indybay and an Oakland Tribune article from Nov. 28, 2008, confirm that Taub and Depape have three children together. In 2013, a Chron article described her preparations for a nude wedding to a man named Jaymz Smith on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, for which she expected to be arrested as part of her nudist activism. DePape, who is pictured in the piece, is described as “a hemp jewelry maker and father figure who will double as best man.”
DePape continued blogging sporadically in the years that followed, asking philosophical questions like, “What if you woke up and realized your whole life had been a dream?” But the same blog, purportedly focused on the subjects of “Science and spirituality,” also veered into darker territory. In a 2017 post on “Materialism,” Depape wrote, “You are just a piece of meat,” and that “Love and caring are a chemical DELUSION.” He then included several photos of piles of dead bodies in Nazi concentration camps, captioning them “Hail Dehumanization,” “Hail Racial Supremacy” and “Hail Survival of the Fitest.”
While Depape’s internet output was inconsistent over the years, he became extremely prolific on his current blog in late August, initially posting several times a day. In the weeks leading up to the alleged invasion of the Pelosis’ home, he did not lack for culture war topics on which to air his grievances.
In addition to the content uncovered by Rolling Stone, CNN reported that DePape throughout 2021 used his Facebook page to share videos in which MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely claimed that the 2020 election had been stolen, as well as transphobic memes and links to anti-vaccination websites.
Also on Facebook, he promoted the idea that the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection was a sham that would soon collapse and indicated his belief that George Floyd died of a drug overdose rather than having his neck kneeled on by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He also alluded to the so-called “Great Reset,” the conspiracy theory that shadowy elites are using the Covid-19 to drastically reshape society as we know it.
One acquaintance told CNN that DePape, who for a period was living in a storage unit in the Berkeley area and struggling with addiction, sent her “really disturbing” emails that were “megalomaniac and so out of touch with reality.” She cut off contact with him “because it seemed so dangerous.”