Conspiracy theories spread after rapper’s shooting

Nipsey Hussle conspiracyAmid tributes, shock and sadness, conspiracy theories have circulated online in response to the shooting of US rapper Nipsey Hussle.

The 33-year-old was shot outside his Los Angeles clothing shop on Sunday. Police say 29-year-old Eric Holder has been arrested in connection with his death.

But as is often the case following high-profile crimes, social media users have responded to his death by alleging a vast, complex conspiracy.

The theories centre around a self-proclaimed Honduran healer who died in 2016 – Alfredo Bowman, more widely known as Dr Sebi.

What are the conspiracy theories?

Screenshot of YouTube Nipsey Hussle conspiracy videoImage copyright: YOUTUBE videos outlining the conspiracy theory have accumulated millions of views

Videos are circulating on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in which Nipsey Hussle’s death is being blamed, without evidence, on one or more of the government, pharmaceutical companies or the Illuminati – a nebulous group of elites that conspiracy theorists claim secretly controls the world.

Search results for “Nipsey Hussle” on YouTube include several such videos, some of which have accumulated hundreds of thousands or even millions of views.

Adherents claim – baselessly – that the rapper was murdered because he was working on a documentary about Dr Sebi.

YouTube has told the BBC that these videos do not violate community guidelines, and that content expressing controversial beliefs is permitted on the website.

“False information is not necessarily violative, unless it crosses the line into hate speech, harassment, inciting violence or scams,” YouTube said.

The video-sharing website added that it has developed features to steer users in the direction of news organisations.

On Twitter, the speculation propelled the herbalist’s name into the top trends, with some noting that former TLC musician, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, had been visiting Dr Sebi in Honduras before she died in a 2002 car crash.

Conspiracy theories were further fuelled by the rapper’s cryptic final tweet, sent on the day he was killed.

“Having strong enemies is a blessing,” he said.

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