The internet forum operator many believe to be behind the QAnon movement admitted to the January 6 congressional committee that the conspiracy isn’t real – while spreading a different conspiracy theory at the same time.
“QAnon is manufactured by the left-wing media, and it’s probably put out mostly by a company called Media Matters, which is, I believe, funded by a man named George Soros,” Jim Watkins, founder of the 8kun messageboard where Q first took off, told the Capitol riot inquiry, according to interview transcripts of a June 2022 conversation released on Tuesday.
“It’s manufactured,” he added. “It’s not anything to do with my website. I’ve used the term a couple times, and that’s before I realized what it even was.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Watkins offered a revisionist take on January 6 itself, calling the Capitol riot a “beautiful, wonderful, peaceful and patriotic” gathering.
Mr Soros, a Hungarian billionaire philanthropist, is a frequent target of right-wing and antisemitic conspiracy theories, and has previously given funding to Media Matters for America.
The Independent has contacted Mr Soros and MMFA for comment.
As The Independent has reported, Mr Watkins and his son Ron are believed to have either started or quickly coopted the QAnon conspiracy when it first began appearing on 8kun message boards, unleashing a force that soon came to impact millions of Americans and mainstream right-wing conspiracies within the Republican party.
Both men have denied being behind QAnon.
“It’s not me,” Jim Watkins told the committee. “Some people say it’s me, but it’s not me.”
“I’m not Q. I have never coordinated with Q,” Ron Watkins told The Independent in an email in 2021.
However, that same year, Ron Watkins seemed to admit being Q in an interview for the HBO docu-series Q: Into The Storm.
“It was basically three years of intelligence training, teaching normies how to do intelligence work,” he told filmmaker Cullen Hoback. “It was basically what I was doing anonymously before,” he says, before busting out laughing.
More recently, Ron Watkins ran a failed congressional campaign in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.