"Q", the mysterious leader of the bizarre QAnon conspiracy movement, has been unmasked, a new six-part documentary series has claimed.

A haven for conservative conspiracy theorists, the fringe movement originated in October 2017 on internet chat forum, 4Chan, when an anonymous poster, under the pseudonym of 'Q', began sharing what appeared to be highly-classified information about the US government.

In the years since, the group has embraced everything from baseless associations linking 5G to health risks to the central belief that the world is controlled by a group of anti-Trump elites.

Accusation of a child sex-trafficking ring has also been thrown into the mix, as has inferences of cannibalism.

QAnon supporters were also among those who stormed the nation's Capitol on January 6.

Now, the makers of HBO's Q: Into the Storm have concluded that the man in control is not a high-ranking government official of the former Trump administration, but Ron Watkins - the longtime administrator of the group's online home, 8kun.

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Ron Watkins is an American conspiracy theorist – but is he Q? Picture: HBO
Ron Watkins is an American conspiracy theorist – but is he Q? Picture: HBO

The online message board is where Q was believed to post "QDrops" with coded warnings and premonitions about the coming "storm" that would unmask the Deep State and lead to the arrest, trial and execution of alleged liberal criminals.

In the trailer of the series, Watkins - whose father, Jim Watkins, owns and operates the website - asks filmmaker Cullen Hoback, "You're going through a possible list of who Q might be?"

"That's right. You're on the list," Hoback responds.

"Well, let's continue then," Watkins says.

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Watkins, seen by experts as being instrumental in the perpetuation of QAnon's many conspiracies, has previously denied being behind the movement, announcing on the same day as the US election last year that he would step down as administrator of the site.

Now living in Japan, he told VICE News last December he was stepping away because he "fell in love with woodworking and plan on focusing all my efforts into mastering it. Also want to finish a book I'm writing about constitutional law."

In the same article, VICE pointed out that "since Watkins announced his departure from 8kun, Q has virtually disappeared, posting just four relatively generic updates since the Election Day post" - another nod to the fact he could be behind the entire movement.

RELATED: Fringe movement flamed by virus

 

 

QAnon activity "exploded" during the COVID-19 pandemic, when posts on Facebook and Twitter tripled, according to reports.

Writing for The Conversation last year, Marc-André Argentino said the group believed the pandemic to be a "cover for the Trump administration's secret plan to arrest Deep State agents".

And while the shocking attack on the US Capitol earlier this year and the inauguration of Joe Biden "did cause a minority of QAnon followers to simply walk away or drop off and realise they'd been duped", researcher of extremism and longtime observer of QAnon, Travis View told the ABC that the "majority … still continue to double down".

Originally published as Identity of QAnon's leader revealed



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