A QAnon-supporting parent in Florida claimed in late November that their son was jumped by “8 black kids” for wearing a Trump hat. In December, the account posted a video that was allegedly taken of the kids beating the child up on a school bus — and right-wing news outlets and pundits ran with it. But the school system says the attack was unrelated to politics.
On November 21, the @AmericanDiaries Twitter account, a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, shared a photo of a child with a blanket over their head, claiming the child is their son and that he’d been attacked because of his pro-Trump beliefs.
Three weeks later, the same account shared a graphic video described as portraying the incident, asking people to retweet it “to have these two girls and 3 boys held accountable” (a departure from the initial claim that “8 black kids” assaulted the child).
The school district has denied the contention that the fight was spurred by a Trump hat.
“There was no evidence found during the investigation that indicated the student was wearing any of this apparel at the time of the altercation,” Hamilton County Superintendent Rex L. Mitchell said in a statement, “or that his wearing of such apparel on a prior occasion motivated the incident.” Reporting on this statement, Snopes has also debunked the claim.
The @AmericanDiaries account’s video and story reached right-wing pundits including Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk and the president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani. Both used the initial claim that the boy was beaten up by Black classmates for wearing a Trump hat without noting the school’s denial of that story.
Those websites all noted the school's denial — while still including mentions of the Trump hat in their headlines. The image that appears with the Fox article about the incident on social media and in search results is still a “Make America Great Again” hat.
And the story has continued to spread in right-wing circles.
Pro-Trump comedian Terrence K. Williams, a pundit who has spread hoax claims before, posted the video of the bus attack and wrote, “Why is the mainstream media not covering this ? If some white kids beat up someone for liking Obama this would be National News.”
Former Republican presidential candidate-turned-Trump-surrogate Herman Cain also posted about the video, linking to an article from the conservative Western Journal website that noted in its headline that the sheriff’s office did not consider the attack a hate crime.
“In other words,” Cain wrote, “the only purpose of ‘hate crime’ laws is to make it a bigger crime to beat up people liberals like.”
As Media Matters’ Alex Kaplan noted when the video and claim first went viral, the account that posted it is a clear supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon conspiracy theorists believe there is a pro-Trump government operative who goes by the code name “Q” who will save America from a pedophilic global cabal. It has been linked to the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that inspired a North Carolina man to open fire in a Washington, DC pizza restaurant.
The @AmericanDiaries account has posted or retweeted QAnon content on multiple recent occasions.
On November 23, the account posted a meme with the phrase “Where We Go One, We Go All” and its associated hashtag. As the Washington Post reported in August, the phrase “may seem fairly anodyne, a clunky but earnest way of capturing the sentiment behind ‘e pluribus unum’” but is in fact “the main rallying cry of QAnon conspiracy theorists.”
On December 9, @AmericanDiaries also retweeted a QAnon meme that called on supporters to “go to Washington D.C. & demand the military arrest these globalist traitors.”