While the unhinged conspiracy theory known as “QAnon,” or “The Storm,” has been gaining traction online among President Donald Trump’s supporters since October 2017, it was Tuesday night when it finally jumped to the mainstream in the form of shirts and signs that were prominently visible at a Trump campaign rally in Tampa, FL. Supporters of QAnon believe “a high-level government insider with Q clearance” is anonymously posting clues informing the public of Trump’s master plan to undermine the “deep state” and dismantle pedophilia rings supposedly linked to powerful celebrities and politicians.
While the theory has its murky origins on 4chan and 8chan -- message boards best known for serving as the source of hoaxes and organized harassment campaigns -- many prominent right-wing figures, websites, and social media accounts have helped amplify QAnon. And the consequences of its unfettered growth could be dangerous. A man is facing terrorism charges in Arizona for using an armored vehicle to stop traffic on a bridge near the Hoover Dam with demands and letters clearly inspired by QAanon. Similarly, “Pizzagate,” a pedophilia-focused conspiracy theory fueled by Trump supporters during the 2016 presidential election, inspired a man to open fire inside a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.
Below is a growing list of right-wing media figures, politicians, websites, and social media accounts that have carelessly amplified QAnon by either evangelizing its tenets to their followers or neutrally presenting the conspiracy theory through their influential platforms without clarifying to their audiences that the whole thing is a baseless canard.
Alex Jones, founder of conspiracy theory site Infowars
Jones went all in on QAnon, even claiming “the White House directly asked” Infowars correspondent Jerome Corsi to be on the “8chan beat” covering QAnon. After QAnon followers began criticizing Corsi and Jones’ opportunistic hijacking of the conspiracy theory, Jones attempted to backpedal his initial enthusiasm, justifying his distancing by claiming that the identity of the anonymous poster who goes by Q had been “compromised.”
Mike Tokes, co-founder of NewRightUS
Rodney Howard-Browne, right-wing Christian preacher and evangelist
James Woods, actor
Roseanne Barr, actress
As documented by The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer, Barr was among QAnon’s early high-profile supporters. Barr often tweets about the conspiracy theory and has also focused on its pedophilia-related offshoot known as “Pedogate” (derived from Pizzagate) and she recently asked a skeptical follower “what exactly” about Q “is doofus”?
Roger Stone, notorious right-wing dirty trickster
Stone promoted a QAnon video on his Facebook page.
Curt Schilling, former baseball player and Breitbart podcast host
Jerome Corsi, Infowars correspondent and prominent “birther” conspiracy theorist
Sean Hannity, Fox News host
On January 9, Fox’s Sean Hannity tweeted from his account that his followers should “watch @wikileaks closely! Tick tock.” The tweet quoted another tweet that claimed that “out of nowhere, Ecuador suddenly offers to mediate a resolution for #JulianAssange,” with the hashtag “#QAnon.”
Bill Mitchell, Trump sycophant and host of Your Voice America
Jack Posobiec, One America News Network correspondent and prominent pusher of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory
While Posobiec has referred to the conspiracy theory in neutral terms, it isn’t clear if his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers know how he feels about it. Is he serious about the conspiracy theory or just trying to surf its popularity while remaining neutral to claim plausible deniability when inevitably, the consequences become dangerous?
Pro-Trump troll and self-appointed “citizen journalist” Liz Crokin has expanded on the QAnon conspiracy theory to speculate that “The Storm” includes a crackdown on elite pedophiles. Crokin has gone on to accuse model Chrissy Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, of pedophilia. Recently, she also claimed John F. Kennedy Jr. had faked his death and is behind the Q posts.
Charlie Kirk, executive director of Turning Point USA
Like Posobiec, Cernovich has made neutral mentions of the conspiracy theory on his Twitter account without clarifying to his followers that it’s baseless.
Eric Trump, son of President Trump
Eric Trump liked a tweet of a slogan linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
The official Twitter account for the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee
On July 4, a Twitter account that identifies itself as belonging to the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee of Florida tweeted out (and later deleted) a YouTube explanatory video of QAnon.
Paul Nehlen, candidate in the Republican primary for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district
The American Patriot
National Conservative News Network Canada
The following are channels YouTube has allowed to proliferate that cover and interpret every post Q signs (ordered by number of subscribers):
Lionel Nation, 202,000-plus subscribers
Destroying the Illusion, (verified by YouTube), 136,000-plus subscribers
JustInformed Talk, 108,000-plus subscribers
prayingmedic, 107,000-plus subscribers
Lift The Veil, 53,000-plus subscribers
Bill Smith, 45,000-plus subscribers
Fake news site YourNewsWire took the QAnon pedophile conspiracy theory to Facebook with baseless accusations targeting celebrities Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
The Trump Times
The Deplorable Army
The site features a tag devoted to QAnon-related content.