The 7 Dumbest Conspiracy Theories About the Baltimore Bridge Collapse

The 7 Dumbest Conspiracy Theories About the Baltimore Bridge Collapse

When the Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed in the early morning hours of Tuesday, there was almost immediately chatter on social media about potential conspiracy theories. In reality, the bridge collapsed because a container ship lost power and crashed into a column, causing it to tumble into the river below. But many of the internet’s dumbest minds think they’ve found the “real” reason.

The ridiculous ideas that have circulated since the bridge collapse have become so routine at this point that you can pretty much guarantee they’ll happen after every news event. Did you spot a touched-up family photo of a princess? She must be an AI-generated clone. Your favorite team didn’t win the Super Bowl? It must be a “CIA psyop.”

What really happened to cause the bridge collapse on Tuesday, according to the loudest voices on social media? We’ve compiled a list with some of the dumbest theories, including everything from the idea that explosive charges were scattered across the bridge to the theory that Ukraine was somehow responsible for the collapse.

There’s also the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was behind it. Why on Earth would people believe such a thing? Because Obama was a producer on the 2023 Netflix movie Leave the World Behind, which has a scene where a giant ship crashes into a beach. Incredibly, this is the first time conspiracy theorists have pointed the finger at Obama over his association with the apocalyptic thriller. People were saying the same thing when AT&T had a nationwide outage about a month ago.

1) The Bridge Collapse Was a Ukrainian Plot Against America

Screenshot: ZeroHedge

There’s a certain breed of conspiracy theorist online who tries to turn literally anything that’s happening in the news into their own pet cause. So it makes sense that some people who are obsessed with the war in Ukraine, and Russia’s invasion of the country in 2022, would see Ukraine in this latest bridge collapse.

The website ZeroHedge shared a screenshot that purports to show the captain of the Dali, the Singapore-flagged ship that caused the bridge collapse, was a man from Ukraine. ZeroHedge spread the idea in a blog post on Tuesday and Russian-linked accounts on X have run with the claim as well.

But as the BBC’s Shayan Sardarizadeh reports, the ship had a crew of 22 people, and all of them were from India. The Dali apparently had a Ukrainian captain for about five months in 2016, but that’s not the case anymore. It’s not clear whether the image that’s circulating purporting to show a Ukrainian captain is doctored, and unfortunately, the Wayback Machine doesn’t have a proper archive of that page.

Whatever the case, that’s not what the page looks like right now and no one has produced any evidence Ukraine was involved in any way with the collapse.

2) This ‘Alternate Angle’ Reveals the Truth

Video being inaccurately shared as depicting the Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland.

We’ve all seen the video from a YouTube livestream that captured the moment that container ship hit the Key Bridge. But have you seen the “alternate angle”? The video above has been shared widely, claiming to reveal a newly discovered camera angle that shows the truth of explosions on the bridge.

The idea seems to have first been spread by an account called Cackenbools but it’s since been deleted. However, plenty of other accounts are still spreading the fake information.

In reality, the video is from 2022 and shows the Crimea Bridge over the Kerch Strait. We know this because plenty of news outlets at the time covered it at the time and 2022 isn’t exactly ancient history. But that hasn’t stopped incredibly stupid people from sharing this video as something captured from the Key Bridge in Maryland.

The Ship Was ‘Hacked’

Screenshot: X

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the completely unhinged congresswoman from Georgia, tweeted about the bridge collapse on Tuesday, demanding a “serious investigation.” Greene included a video from a conspiracy theory account called MJTruthUltra, which insists the ship was “hacked.”

While we don’t yet know what caused the power outage on the ship, there’s absolutely no evidence that the ship was hacked, whatever that’s supposed to mean exactly.

“Is this an intentional attack or an accident?” Greene tweeted on Tuesday, apparently taking time away from her completely normal theories on Jewish space lasers.

The Ship Name in Leave the World Behind Is Kind of Close to the Sri Lanka Flag….?

Screenshot: X

One X account, controlled by someone named Jimmy Corsetti, was really reaching with his theory. The ship that crashed into the bridge was leaving Baltimore with a final destination in Sri Lanka. And, as Corsetti points out the Sri Lanka flag features a lion.

But then Corsetti really goes into nutcase conspiracy theory land, pointing out that the ship in Leave the World Behind is called the White Lion. Never mind the fact that Sri Lanka’s flag features a golden lion.

Yes, conspiracy theorists continue to insist the bad event of the day was too similar to a Hollywood movie for comfort. But, no, there’s no evidence Obama had anything to do with the collapse of the Key Bridge. And you’re reaching if you try to connect the flag of a random country with a movie.

Obama Telegraphs His Punches

Screenshot: X

There were a surprisingly large number of different variations on the Obama conspiracy theory, including some new photoshopped images like the one above.

“In 2023, the Obamas produced a movie called Leave the World Behind, where a cyberattack causes a massive container ship to lose power & crash,” conspiracy theorist Matt Wallace wrote on Tuesday. “Months later a massive container ship loses power & crashes into Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, CAUSING A DEADLY COLLAPSE.”

The question becomes why would the puppetmasters who pull the strings would telegraph their plan with a sci-fi movie before executing their dastardly deeds. The answer, according to the conspiracy theorists, is that they get a sick thrill out of “predictive programming,” or showing exactly what they’re going to do before they do it. Cool theory.

Hidden Explosive Charges


The idea that explosive charges were affixed to the bridge surfaced almost immediately since it looked like some flashes of fire happened as the bridge collapsed. But as the Community Note above points out these were almost certainly caused by the kinds of flashes that you’ll see when electric cables snap. There’s no evidence that any kind of explosives were present on the bridge.

The Bridge Was Too Woke

Screenshot: X

Incredibly, there were plenty of people who thought the bridge collapsed because of racial diversity and inclusion initiatives at U.S. companies, sometimes referred to as DEI. How is that supposed to work? Your guess is as good as ours. But it seems like you can blame pretty much anything on DEI these days.

“Did anti-white business practices cause this disaster?” one particularly dumb X user wrote on Tuesday.

Racists also called Baltimore’s mayor the “DEI mayor,” in tweets on Tuesday, continuing their long-practiced tradition of insisting anyone who is Black only got their job through diversity initiatives.

Other far-right figures insisted America can’t even build bridges anymore. The Francis Scott Key bridge that collapsed in Baltimore was first opened in 1977, to be clear. If you think there were structural issues with the bridge—and there’s no evidence that there was—take it up with the 1970s.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.