John McAfee conspiracy theorists plague widow as body remains in custody
On 23 April, the widow of tech pioneer John McAfee posted a tweet about the “absurd amount of time” his body has been held by Spanish authorities since his death in 2021.
“670 days and his remains have still not been released,” Janice McAfee wrote. “670 days and his autopsy report has still not been released.”
The tweet was viewed more than 1.7 million times, receiving thousands of likes and retweets, but a mistake she made on the date – it was actually only 660 days since his death – meant it was soon picked up by conspiracy theorists who believe the tech founder is still alive and living in hiding.
People spreading this idea often point to small errors like this to support their claims, and say years-old videos of McAfee are evidence that he did not die in a Spanish prison cell nearly two years ago.
“People have truly lost their minds,” Ms McAfee told The Independent. “People think John is still alive just because of old videos being shared online... It’s really frustrating.”
In an effort to dispel the “disgusting and vulgar” comments and rumours spreading online, Ms McAfee posted a video to Twitter explaining that the wrong date she had posted had been an accident and not part of any grand conspiracy.
“By the time I realised the mistake that was made, the tweet had already gone viral and it just didn’t make sense to delete it,” she said in the video.
“All of the videos that have been shared online since John’s death are all previously recorded, none of them are new material... It’s just absolutely infuriating that there are people sharing these videos and giving people the impression that it’s something that’s new.”
I received a lot of conspiracy theories about what happened to John.
But the fact some you took out time to share your disgusting & vulgar commentary says more about your crappy character than whatever you think of John.
Social media has turned some of you into psychopaths. pic.twitter.com/tZFpc8F87n
— Janice McAfee (@theemrsmcafee) April 25, 2023
Conspiracies surrounding John McAfee are also being propagated on Telegram, where channels are attracting thousands of members who follow and discuss new and evolving theories.
One channel, called ‘McAfee AfterLife Q’, has been set up by someone posing as the deceased antivirus founder, claiming to be the mythical “Q” figure that inspired the QAnon movement.
“The US government has manufactured crimes against me to silence me,” the creator of the channel, which has close to 7,000 members, wrote in a post on 3 May. “Time to expose them once and for all. The clock is ticking.”
Another post from 21 April claimed that four laptops had been released to the media, the contents of which would be published in 98 hours.
An old video of McAfee playing the piano was attached to the post, which was captioned “the Storm is here”.
While McAfee’s death is not in doubt, the circumstances surrounding it remain contentious.
Spanish authorities ruled his death a suicide, though they are yet to release an official autopsy report. McAfee frequently said that he would never kill himself, claiming that powerful people wanted him dead due to incriminating data he had collected of corruption at the highest levels of government.
“Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine,” he wrote less than nine months before he died.
Ms McAfee, who remains in Spain while she awaits the release of his body, is among those who dispute the official ruling, claiming that the alleged suicide note is fake.
Ms McAfee has launched a campaign and established a non-profit organisation called The John McAfee Foundation in an attempt to have his body returned.