Hillary Clinton’s replicant respectfully requests you stop tweeting at her.
“I hope you can straighten this all out and get people to quit buggin’ me,” Teresa Barnwell told The Daily Beast.
Barnwell has been a Clinton impersonator for 23 years, but she’s never had a morning like Monday. After Clinton (the real one) appeared to faint outside of the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan on Sunday, then reappeared hours later outside of her daughter’s apartment appearing much healthier, Internet conspiracy theorists thought she was using a body double—and they were certain it was Barnwell.
Although she might be a little to blame for that.
The rumors, which started on Twitter and Reddit, fast made their way to right-wing blogs. By the time Barnwell woke up in her Palm Desert, Calif., home on Monday morning, #HillarysBodyDouble was the No. 2 trend on Twitter—with Barnwell’s face and name usually appearing right next to it.
Barnwell was sitting around and eating lunch in Los Angeles, waiting to shoot an episode of Spike TV’s Lip Sync Battle (alongside a Bill impersonator, naturally) when she first heard about it.
“I got some kind of notification: ‘When Hillary left Chelsea’s home, she looked so different. Was it a body double?’” she remembers reading. “Then my picture started appearing. I was like, ‘What? What is going on?’”
Bored in her dressing room, she then thought, “Should I have a little fun?”
Barnwell posted a picture she took of herself in front of Chelsea Clinton’s apartment back in August, along with the caption, “Maybe I was in New York today!”
The picture was harmless back in August. After going to a Broadway show, her friend asked, “Do you wanna see where Chelsea Clinton lives?”
“I’m cautious about things. I didn’t want to go stand in front of her place. I don’t want to look like I’m stalking her,” she said, through a thick Southern drawl. She walked with her friend to “a very nice little park” (which was Madison Square Park) across the street from where her doppelganger’s daughter lives.
“I thought, ‘I’ll make this look mysterious looking. I’ll just put a corner of my face,’” she said.
One month later, the conspiracy was on.
“Oh my God, the conspiracy theories. These ugly comments, on and on, driving home last night. My phone was just dinging, dinging, dinging, dinging.”
She had to put up another post:
“I’m in Los Angeles today! Not NYC!” Then a picture with John Legend on the set of Lip Sync Battle. None of that was enough. Finally, late last night, she posted this:
“OK people, calm down. I was in LA today, all day. Was just messin’ with your crazy conspiracy minded little heads. Go to bed.”
By the time she woke up, she had to return a phone call to Inside Edition about her newfound life as a political operative of the New World Order.
Now she’s getting conspiracies to counteract the conspiracies from worried friends. “People are like, ‘Watch out. The Clintons do away with people,’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Come on.’”
While #HillarysBodyDouble was still the No. 2 trend on Twitter at press time, even conspiracy theorists were working to disavow it. InfoWars’s Paul Joseph Watson, a prominent conspiracy theorist who believes Clinton has Parkinson’s or syphilis or a brain tumor or all of them, tweeted: “The #HillarysBodyDouble narrative was probably started by the Clinton campaign to discredit genuine questions about her health” on Monday afternoon.
The Internet’s largest online Donald Trump community, Reddit’s /r/The_Donald, is now alleging that “#HillarysBodyDouble is NOT Truly Trending on Twitter, But They Stuck it on the Trends to Make Us Look Nuts. Don’t Fall For it!”
In the meantime, Barnwell has some advice from a Pope John Paul II impersonator.
“He said to me, ‘Teresa, after you’ve done an appearance, go to the restroom and wash your hands. Do everything you can to limit your exposure to germs. She’s out there kissing babies. She’s gonna catch a bug,” she said. “I wish I had her stamina. I do. I hope I have the stamina to survive until Nov. 8.”
As for non-germ-related wisdom, Barnwell has a new saying after today.
“Three little words,” she said. “People are crazy.”