Who is Ron Watkins? Meet the 'QAnon' leader who is banned from Twitter for spreading conspiracy theories
A new HBO documentary aims to uncover the forces behind QAnon and how it manages to manipulate the minds of the people by giving fact-less information. The six-part series also examines the relationship between QAnon and the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump.
The project, titled ‘Q: Into the Storm’, will debut back-to-back episodes on Sunday, March 21, at 9 pm ET. It will also be streaming on the network’s streaming service, HBO Max. The trailer gave the viewers a glimpse of what they could expect from the upcoming series and featured some clips from the Capitol riots as well.
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The documentary will also feature exclusive interviews from those who have been closely monitoring the “QAnon” movement. Two such people identified in the upcoming project are Jim Watkins, founder of the 8chan website, and Ron Watkins, the son of 8chan founder Jim Watkins.
Before going into the specifics, let’s take a look at how did the movement started and managed to gain a lot of popularity among the far-right voters during the 2020 US Presidential Election.
What is QAnon and Who started it?
It all started in October 2017, after a post on the message board 4chan, the notoriously toxic message board, from an anonymous account called ‘Q Clearance Profit’. The man, who became popular as “Q,” claimed that he was a high-ranking intelligence officer who had access to all the information about former president Donald Trump’s war against the group of people who are ruining the world with their malicious intent.
According to Q and the QAnon followers, the world is being governed by a group of pedophiles who worship Satan. They also believe that Trump became the president to unmask such people and punish them.
However, people and experts have been trying to find out the real person behind the movement and it seems like we finally have the answer to that burning question.
Who is Ron Watkins?
The six-part documentary seems to have identified the man behind the QAnon movement and it is none other than Ron Watkins. The documentary names Ron Watkins as Q, the leader of the right-wing conspiracy theory group known as ‘QAnon’.
Watkins is an American conspiracy theorist who played a major role in spreading fact-less information during the 2020 Presidential Election in the US. In 2014, Ron’s father Jim Watkins became the owner of the image-board “8chan” and Ron started to work on the website every day. He served as the site administrator for “8chan” from 2016 until his resignation in November 2020.
Ron played an important role in spreading conspiracy theories during last year’s election and gained popularity among the far right-wing voters. He also started floating stories about faulty voting machines and how the entire election was rigged. Ron also posted videos on Twitter of a Dominion employee using one of the machines, falsely stating that the employee was pictured tampering with election results. None of the theories have ever been supported by any evidence.
Watkins earned a large following on social media following the election. In the month of November he nearly doubled his follower count to 400,000, and by early January had more than 500,000 followers. However, the micro-blogging website banned Watkins for “solely sharing QAnon content.”
Is he really the brains behind the entire “QAnon” movement?
According to Cullen Hoback, director of the documentary, Ron is undoubtedly the leader of the movement and posted on 8chan as “Q”. In one clips, the director interviews, who sits surrounded by walls covered in manga comics, in order to know about the entire movement.
“You’re going through a possible list of who Q might be,” Watkins asks. To which, Hoback responds, “That’s right. You’re on the list.”
“Well let’s continue then,” Watkins says with a smile.
The filmmaker also says that he has been working on the project for three years and has interviewed a plethora of people. It is still unclear if Ron directly said that he is “Q” or Hoback is just making a wild guess about the leader’s identity. It should be noted that only Jim and Ron have verified 'Q's posts on 8chan.
‘Q: Into the Storm’, will premiere exclusively on HBO on Sunday, March 21, at 9 pm ET.