A QAnon show received press passes for Trump’s Nevada rally

In 2021, the former president’s associates said they would “weed out any QAnon influences” on Trump after a similar incident

At least one of the hosts of a QAnon-supporting online show apparently attended former President Donald Trump’s December 17 rally in Reno, Nevada, as accredited media. 

The incident comes more than two years after the former president and his team tried to distance themselves from the show and its hosts after they similarly received press passes to a Trump rally.

On the December 15 edition of MG Show (or MatrixxxGrooove Show), co-host Shannon Townsend, who is known online as “ShadyGrooove,” announced that after seeking press passes for Trump’s Reno rally, the show was “accredited media with Donald Trump and the rally campaign.” Townsend added, “We have press passes. So MG Show will be sitting there with CNN for the rally on Sunday.” 

Co-host Jeffrey Pedersen (known online as “intheMatrixxx”) added that receiving press passes demonstrated that “President Donald J. Trump knows who we are.”

Video file

Citation From the December 15, 2023, edition of MatrixxxGrooove Show

SHANNON TOWNSEND (CO-HOST): So, we heard after we announced that we were going to go on a little journey, that Donald Trump was going to be doing a rally in Reno. And so, you know, thought it might be a good idea to see if I could get some press passes for the Reno rally. And guess what? MG Show is accredited media with Donald Trump and the rally campaign. And we have press passes. So MG Show will be sitting there with CNN for the rally on Sunday.

JEFFREY PEDERSEN (CO-HOST): Yeah, you know, and so what that means is that President Donald J. Trump knows who we are, guys, OK? And he knows that we are behind him 117%. We are behind President Donald J. Trump. We have not wavered. 

Two days later, Townsend posted images from the rally, including one that shows him holding a press pass in what appears to be a media area.

Townsend Reno rally2

Citation QAnon show host Shannon Townsend, or “ShadyGrooove,” with a press pass at Trump’s rally in Reno, Nevada, on December 17, 2023

On X (formerly Twitter), Pedersen posted an image of the press passes and said they were “cleared by the Trump Campaign and Secret Service.” (It is unclear whether Pedersen actually attended the rally, even though he posted an image of press passes for the event.)

This was not the first time MG Show hosts attended a Trump rally as accredited media. In July 2021, Trump’s team gave Pedersen and Townsend press credentials for a Trump rally in Sarasota, Florida. At the rally, they wore wristbands featuring the QAnon slogan “where we go one, we go all” — or “WWG1WGA” for short — and led a crowd in chanting the slogan

After receiving backlash for credentialing QAnon conspiracy theorists, Trump’s team distanced itself from QAnon and MG Show, telling Politico it was “considering a new policy to verify reporters ahead of events to prevent people like the two men from gaining access” and that the team “had attempted to weed out any QAnon influences — both adherents and postings — getting close to him.” CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan reported that the duo may have “received press credentials through … a right-wing talk radio network that appears to have several pro-Trump radio hosts.” 

Pedersen later said that the reporting about the talk radio network was false and claimed that he and Townsend had used their own emails to request press credentials for the Sarasota rally. Pedersen also seemingly suggested that someone close to Trump told the duo that they were “happy” they attended the rally.

Since 2021, Trump and his team have increasingly embraced the QAnon community, including Pedersen, who once posted a photo of himself with the former president. On Truth Social, Trump has amplified the posts of QAnon supporters hundreds of times and even boosted multiple posts from QAnon’s central figure, “Q.”