If you haven’t heard of QAnon by now, it’s probably for the best. It’s a far-reaching conspiracy theory that alleges, among other things, American government and society is being run by a cabal of satanist child-eating pedophiles and Donald Trump is secretly bringing them to justice behind the scenes. Emphasis on “secretly,” of course—there’s no evidence for any of this besides it being the byproduct of disaffected, dissatisfied conservatives searching for deeper meaning behind the president’s incompetence.
Despite being certifiable nonsense, QAnon has broken through. A majority of Republican voters believe part of the conspiracy to be “partly or mostly true” and several congressional candidates have openly embraced it. Some social media sites have begun trying to combat it, including Reddit, which recently banned the largest QAnon subreddit. Twitter and Instagram have also pared down the number of QAnon related hashtags and posts users can find. It’s an effort to stop the spread of a conspiracy theory that includes hysterical claims and open threats of violence, both against public figures and private citizens.
There’s plenty to read about QAnon—virtually every news organization and online media company did some sort of breakdown or primer earlier this summer (this piece by Slate’s Lili Loofbourow is a particularly great analysis). But we thought it’d be better to hit up a Q message board and see how many wild conspiracies we could find in one quick trip down the rabbit hole. They’re a little harder to locate now that social media has cracked down on QAnon, but the results are just as ridiculous as you’d expect. (We chose not to link to them because, well, duh).
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been dead for months.
This conspiracy, broadcasted by Infowars’ Alex Jones, alleges that Democrats have held off on announcing RBG’s death for months to make it as difficult as possible for Trump and the Senate GOP to replace her before the election. This is one of those kinds of conspiracies that’s pretty easy to poke holes in if you just pay brief attention to reality. For example, that RBG was photographed officiating a wedding in early September, or that Democrats are doing virtually nothing to stymie Amy Coney Barrett’s SCOTUS nomination.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says all Americans will be forced to receive COVID-19 vaccine by July 2021.
This poster took Fauci’s comments this past Friday about vaccines pretty roughly. Fauci said that life could get back to normal once “enough people [are] vaccinated so that you can feel you’ve had an impact enough on the outbreak,” which could happen “by the third quarter or so of 2021.” This poster read that as “Fauci will force every American to get the COVID-19 vaccine and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” They wrote that “this is it” for humanity, that “they” will have “complete control access to your emotion body interface,” as well as the ability to control, influence, monitor, and “impregnate you with thoughts that are not yours…via remote control uplink due to the nanotech insert” inside the vaccine.
This isn’t actually too far off from a lot of anti-vaxx stuff, but it certainly takes it to a new level.
Coca-Cola is selling cans filled with blood infected with COVID-19.
There isn’t really much to add here. The poster included photos of blood pouring out of Coke and Diet Coke cans, as well as a blog (probably his own) explaining why police are warning about this clear and present danger.
Eminem is a double murderer.
This post was kind of hard to follow, but it essentially alleges that the famous rapper killed two people. Also, clues about the victims’ identities are hidden in the list of people pardoned by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama during their respective presidencies. Like a lot of QAnon-related conspiracies, this poster insists that you do the research yourself to find the truth.
Lady Gaga is part of a pro-vaccination/COVID lockdown fear campaign.
Gaga has been the focus of right wing conspiracy theorists for a long time, mostly alleging that she’s a satanist. This post took that a bit further, saying that her new album Chromatica is part of a campaign to instill fear in people, get them to stay inside during the pandemic, and, when the time comes, dutifully accept the COVID-19 vaccine. Lady Gaga’s collaborations with other female artists and the K-pop group Blackpink is part of the campaign, as well as an effort to feminize society—a longstanding right wing conspiracy claim related to LGBTQ rights.