QAnon Conspiracy Theory: What is it?

5 mins read

Earlier this week the world watched as Capitol Hill was taken over by armed supporters of President Trump. Many were seen carrying ‘Trump 2020’ flags, confederate state flags and memorabilia bolstering a large Q.

This large Q is in reference to an internet conspiracy known as QAnon and has become a firm belief within alt-right circles. This popular conspiracy theory has become potentially dangerous to the political landscape of the US.

The FBI has identified the movement as a potential domestic terrorist threat. But how dangerous is the theory?

What is QAnon?

QAnon emerged as an internet conspiracy theory on online message boards. It’s the belief that Satan -worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires are running the world while engaging in pedophilia, human trafficking and storing a supposedly life-extending chemical from the blood of children who have been abused.

A protestor holds up a large “Q” sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Photo Credit- NBC News/ Rick Loomis / Getty Images

Believers of this theory believe President Trump is leading the secret battle against these elites and its “‘deep state’ collaborators to expose the malefactors and send them all to Guantanamo Bay.”

There are a number of different threads to this conspiracy: John F Kennedy still being alive, children being sold through the furniture site Wayfair. As well as a vilifying a number of celebrities including Hilary Clinton, George Soros, Tom Hanks and Barak Obama.

How Did QAnon Begin?

The QAnon conspiracy has actually been produced through the back of another conspiracy.

During the 2016 Presidential Election a viral theory appeared online known as Pizzagate. Right-wing outlets and influential figures promoted the idea of a popular Washington DC pizza restaurant was running a child-trafficking ring in their basement.

A QAnon supporter, Jake Angeli, known as ‘Q Shaman’ was a prominent figure in the riots on Capitol Hill, 6 January 2021. Photo Credit: Yahoo News

The conspiracy emerged from the reference to food and this particular pizza restaurant in leaked emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that were said to actually be a secret code.

But it also has roots in older anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as the Protocols of the Elders fo Zion. The QAnon idea of notable people storing a chemical from the blood of child victims is a modern take on the old anti-Semitic blood libel.

How did it begin?

An anonymous figure, Q emerged in October 2017 and emerged themselves as a government insider with a special kind of security clearance, known as ‘Q Clearance’.

“Where we go one we go all”, often abbreviated as “WWG1WGA!” is one of the most popular QAnon slogans. Photo Credit: – BBC

It began on message board 4Chan and switched to 8Chan in November 2017. The anonymous figure went quiet when 8Chan went down in August 2019 before remerging on a new website 8Kun.

In order to distinguish themselves from other anonymous users- known as “Anons”, and this created QAnon.

There is now an entire QAnon empire with a huge amount of videos, memes, e-books, chatrooms, all designed to entice potential recruits and draw them into the QAnon world.

In a Pew Research centre study in September 2020 found nearly half of all Americans had heard of QAnon and after the scenes from Capitol Hill earlier this week, we should be worried about it’s becoming more common than we might realise.

As Trump’s term is due to end on January 20 and President elect Joe Biden is due to take over and with the events of Capitol Hill we should all be a little worried about the route the alt-right is going to take during a Biden presidency.

Feature Image Credit: – Pique Magazine

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Journalism and Politics student// Editor-in-Chief 2021/22

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