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A man allegedly decapitated his father and went on a far-right rant. MAGA media figures are desperately spinning conspiracy theories.

Donald Trump Jr. and others are using an anonymous 4chan post to blame Biden and the FBI; others are spinning false flag conspiracy theories.

Right-wing pundits and media personalities are pushing conspiracy theories about Justin Mohn, a Pennsylvania man who allegedly decapitated his father and then uploaded a rant to YouTube in which he pushed a slew of far-right talking points.

In part, conservatives have run with the claim that the FBI was aware of Mohn months before the murder but didn’t take action, basing their arguments on an archived 4chan post from July 2023. An anonymous user apparently wrote online back in July of the suspect’s troubling behavior, adding, “Reported to the FBI just in case."

Conservative media figures were also quick to try to shift the narrative away from the right-wing rhetoric Mohn espoused, which hews closely to common narratives in the conservative media ecosystem. They baselessly called the incident a “false flag” or other distraction — part of a broader trend among right-wing media personnel of baselessly labeling mass tragedies as political “psyops,” or fake events supposedly perpetrated by the government to smear the political right.

  • How one theory jumped from 4chan to Donald Trump Jr.

    • On X (formerly known as Twitter), right-wing user Johnny MAGA posted a screenshot of the July 4chan post, writing, “The Pennsylvania ‘militia’ man who beheaded his federal employee father was reported to the FBI over 6 months ago” and calling it “a tale as old as time.” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]

    • The same day, Donald Trump Jr. reacted to the post, writing, “Every F$&@ing time folks!” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]

    • The next day, pro-Trump outlet The Gateway Pundit published a piece citing the post on 4chan, titled “SHOCKER: Pennsylvania ‘Militia’ Man Who Beheaded and Posted Video of His Federal Employee Father’s Head Online was Reported to the FBI OVER SIX MONTHS AGO!” [The Gateway Pundit, 2/1/24]

  • Right-wing personalities used the claim to blame the FBI for the incident

    • Trump Jr. cited the post to support broader accusations of negligence and bias by the FBI. He claimed, “Of course the FBI was too busy classifying Catholics as domestic terrorists along with the other truly dangerous terrorists who went to PTA meetings to complain about radical leftist teacher’s indoctrinating their kids!” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]

    • On her Rumble show, far-right “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer similarly attacked the FBI, saying, “Isn't it a bit strange that this keeps on happening, that the FBI is well aware of all these ticking time bombs, but, you know, they just seem to sit back and let them explode?” Loomer called the FBI “The Federal Bureau of Insurrectionists.” [Rumble, Loomer Unleashed, 2/1/24; CNN, 8/19/20]

    • Right-wing podcaster Johnny Starbuck also cited Johnny MAGA’s claims, saying the killing shows the “FBI has failed at its most important job due to resources spent on political vendettas.” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]

    • On his Daily Wire Show, Michael Knowles pointed fingers at the FBI, saying, “Apparently the young man was known to the FBI and, you know, another one slips through the cracks, I guess.” [The Daily Wire, The Michael Knowles Show, 2/1/24]

  • Right-wing media have also offered other conspiracy theories about the alleged killer

    • On her Rumble Show, Loomer Unleashed, Laura Loomer said that whenever the government needs “a distracting story,” there’s “always a deranged maniac waiting in the wings.” She said: “How convenient, right, is it that every single time the government or, you know, the media, they need a distracting story or a negative narrative to pin on the right wing of this country and to pin on Donald Trump, well, there's always a deranged maniac waiting in the wings, ready to strike. Isn't that such a coincidence?” Loomer added that the shootings in Aurora, Colorado; Parkland, Florida; and Uvalde, Texas, “all occurred as gun rights were being discussed at the national level just as they are now.” [Rumble, Loomer Unleashed, 2/1/24, 2/1/24]

    • Knowles also claimed the media were framing the story “as though he were a right-wing Trump supporter” but noted that “the guy apparently also attacks Donald Trump.” He then began to spin, asking, “What was this guy's political ideology? I don't know.” [The Daily Wire, The Michael Knowles Show, 2/1/24]

    • Loomer also posted a long rant about Mohn on X, saying Mohn was driven to a state of insanity by the Democrat Party’s policies” and saying there’s a mental health crisis in America that’s been “exacerbated by Democrat policies and the weaponization of government.” She added, “Biden is creating a violent society for all Americans. His negative effects on the mental health of our country cannot be disregarded. Biden’s policies create violence.” [Twitter/X, 1/30/24]

    • Loomer additionally responded to a Daily Mail article about the event, adding, “Biden is making people SNAP!!!!” [Twitter/X, 1/30/24]

    • On X, Johnny Maga wrote, “It wouldn’t be an election year without beheadings, ‘militias’ and ‘revolutionaries’ popping up in swing states.” He added: “A schizophrenic Pennsylvania man beheaded his father in arguably the most important county, in the most important state for the 2024 election.” And he complained that, “He is already being labeled ‘MAGA’ by the left” but he “publicly called Trump a ‘bitch’ on his facebook.” [Twitter/X, 1/30/24]

    • Far-right personality Elijah Schaffer posted the uncensored video on X with the caption “MKUltra experiment gone wrong?” The post was removed, but Tim Pool displayed it on the screen during his show. It also said: “During an election year, Justin Mohn, of PA beheaded his father & released a video on YouTube (still up) calling to mobilize militias to attack federal courthouses & for American patriots to assassinate federal employees.” [TimCast Uncensored, 1/30/24]

    • Dan Ball of One America’s News Network said the beheading, “has nothing to do with MAGA or Trump.” He added that “some of what the man said actually probably makes sense and resonates with some seeing what has been happening to our country. … I've watched it twice all the way through so I could hear every single word of what the man said to see if, for some reason, what Democrats and the mainstream media are now claiming was true. It's not.” [Media Matters, 1/31/24]