Chuck E. Cheese's is defending its food after a theory that its pizzas are really the cobbled together remains of uneaten slices was "explored" by YouTuber Shane Dawson.
In a video released Monday as part of his "Conspiracies" series, Dawson explored his own theory that the reason Chuck E. Cheese pizzas sometimes look uneven is that they're not always made fresh.
Rather, he says, the staff will, at least some of the time, collect uneven pieces and place them together and rewarm them, serving the creation as if it were a fresh pie.
Dawson doesn't seem to be alone in his theory. The video shows him doing some internet searching and finding others who have the same theory.
Dawson is careful to say that everything is just his "opinion" and references speaking to his lawyer several times. But at other times, his language is more definitive.
In one part of the video, Dawson and his associates go to a Chuck E. Cheese's location in Los Angeles and order some pizza. When they come to the table, the pizzas do indeed have seem to be irregularly shaped and have cut marks that don't match.
"Oh my god, it’s real!" Dawson says. "I mean that’s undeniable, that’s crazy ... I think it’s a bunch of pieces of pizza put together."
Later, Dawson brings one of the pizzas home and re-creates it on a kitchen counter.
“I think we’ve proven that these two halves were never together," he says. “There is a reason and legally I’m not gonna say what I think that reason is."
In the end, he concludes the "mystery" is "unsolved."
Dawson is a very popular YouTube creator with 20 million subscribers. The conspiracy video with the Chuck E. Cheese's investigation currently has more than 7.7 million views.
Dawson's video set off a firestorm on social media; people tweeting about Chuck E. Cheese's included other YouTube personalities like Jeffree Star.
However, a Chuck E. Cheese's spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the theory is completely false.
“The claims made in this video about Chuck E. Cheese’s and our pizza are unequivocally false," they said in a statement.
"No conspiracies here – our pizzas are made to order and we prepare our dough fresh in restaurant, which means that they’re not always perfectly uniform in shape, but always delicious.”
So why are the pizzas so oddly shaped? A former employee told BuzzFeed News it's just some shrinkage.
Katherine Early worked at a Chuck E. Cheese's in Fort Worth, Texas, from 2013 to 2016. While there, she served as a hostess, cashier, bouncer, and trainer. She personally made pizzas while working there.
"As far as the allegations goes, I think it’s actually pretty funny even though it is absolutely false," she said. "In my years there, not once did I ever see a pizza even make it back towards the kitchen. They were always thrown in the trash even if it was a pizza that went untouched by the guests."
She said the reason the pizzas look so odd is that the cutting tool doesn't always go all the way through, leading to irregular cut marks. The pies also tend to change shape in the oven.
"When it goes through the oven, the pizza shrinks. It warps and depending on the amount of cheese or toppings there is variation in the size and shape, hence why the slices aren’t always the same length."