The Bizarre Katy Perry Conspiracy Theory Explained

From "Paul is dead" to the Illuminati, conspiracy theories about celebrities are nothing new. However, they seem to get more and more absurd with each passing year, with social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok allowing them to spread like wildfire among the bored and gullible. Some of these conspiracy theories have gained so much traction that their subjects were forced to address them — in 2018, so many people blindly believed the Avril Lavigne replacement theory that the Canadian singer had to go on record saying she hadn't been cloned and killed after all.. seriously.

At a certain level of stardom, being the subject of these tall tales simply comes with the territory. But while Katy Perry has faced the typical Illuminati allegations following Madonna and Beyoncé before her, she's also fallen victim to a whole new type of conspiracy theory: the true crime crossover. In 2016, certain corners of the Internet began speculating that the cartoonish pop star is actually JonBenét Ramsey in disguise — the six-year-old pageant queen whose 1996 murder is still unsolved. 

It goes without saying that the theory has more holes than a miniature golf course, and is, like many true crime discussions, could be considered more than a little disrespectful to Ramsey and her family. Nevertheless, let's dive in.

JonBenét Ramsey supposedly survived and changed her name to Katy Perry

According to the theory's adherents, JonBenet Ramsey's family helped fake her death so that she could change her name and become famous pop star Katy Perry. In order for her to join the Illuminati, they'd have to "sacrifice" Ramsey's old identity and start anew, per the Mirror. In a now-deleted 2014 YouTube video by conspiracy theorist Dave Johnson, he cites Ramsey and Perry's vague resemblance as evidence, specifically their eyebrows, as well as that of their parents. Another YouTube video claims Perry's "Wide Awake" contains hints about the secret plot, with lyrics about being "born again" and a video featuring a younger version of herself, representing her past identity as Ramsey.

Unfortunately for its believers, the theory is easily disproved. Perry is six years older than Ramsey and would have been 12 at the time of Ramsey's death, and she was already growing up in California while Ramsey lived in Colorado. There are several widely available photos (pictured here) and videos from Perry's childhood to back this up; not to mention, Ramsey's body was found and buried after the tragedy.

Also, Perry's parents were Pentecostal pastors since her childhood, and Perry and Ramsey both have different siblings. It's highly unlikely that one set of parents would have gone back and forth between the two states to take care of both families, all to keep up the elaborate hoax. In a final blow, the Ramsey family has never felt the need to comment on the theory.

Katy Perry cleared the air on national TV

By 2017, the urban legend was so widespread that Katy Perry had to acknowledge it publicly. During her hosting of that year's Video Music Awards, a pre-recorded video showed comedian Billy Eichner jokingly telling Perry, "Blink twice if you're actually JonBenét Ramsey." She immediately replied, "Um, wait, no, that is not real."

Regardless of how many people actually believed the theory, there was enough discussion of it at the time for Eichner and Perry to give it light on national TV. Reactions to the joke were mixed, even if they poked fun at its implausibility. One tweeter wrote, "A child's unsolved murder is not to be laughed at or made fun of, it's sad." Meanwhile, despite the rise of true crime podcasts and docuseries in recent years, the hobby has been criticized for exploiting tragedy and repackaging it as entertainment. Speaking about the Gabby Petito case in an op-ed for The New York Times, writer Emma Berquist opined, "I don't think it's a normal thing to comb through a murder victim's Instagram. That's such a violation." While there are ways to explore the genre respectfully and even bring justice to victims and families, a sensationalized conspiracy such as the Katy Perry-JonBenet Ramsey theory might not hit the mark.