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How QAnon Followers Reacted to HBO’s ‘Into the Storm’ Documentary

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Members of the QAnon movement have reacted positively to the HBO docuseries on the rise of the radical conspiracy theory.

The first two episodes of Cullen Hoback’s Q: Into the Storm aired on Sunday, focusing on how QAnon started life on the fringes of the internet in late 2017, as well as bringing in some of the main characters that helped the radical movement grow.

Rather than concentrate on the more salacious aspects of QAnon’s beliefs—including that there exists a secret cabal of high-profile child-abusing cannibals—the first episode instead looked at who the mysterious figure known as “Q” could be and how people started following Q’s mysterious coded messages on infamous message board sites 4chan and 8chan.

The show opens with Ron Watkins, the former administrator of 8Kun, another messageboard site where Qs “drops” later eventually appeared, discussing the second-ever post from October 2017, which falsely claimed that Hilary Clinton would soon be arrested.

Q: Into the Storm explained how QAnon supporters went on to interpret the thousands of proceeding cryptic posts from Q to form a majority of their beliefs, as well deciphering them to suggest that Q—who claimed to have high-level security clearance within the U.S. government—is accurately predicting future world events.

Hoback also attempts to draw up a “plausible” list of suspects as to who Q may be, with some early QAnon advocates suggesting that there may be more than one person behind it or that there was an impostor masquerading as Q posting on 8chan.

After the first episodes aired, QAnon supporters described how they were actually impressed with the HBO series, which was filmed over the course of three years, and the levels of research behind it.

Pepe Lives Matter, a QAnon channel on encrypted messaging service Telegram, even described the opening as a “great first episode.”

Jordan Sather, a YouTuber who gained a huge following for interpreting Q posts online and is set to appear later on in the series, added: “Parts of this documentary are definitely skewing the truth, you’ve got your typical mainstream media tools in this, but other parts are surprisingly on the mark.

“Shocked how many proofs they went through in the first episode, and they sure aren’t making this look like domestic terrorism.”

Others also expressed surprise that the first episode did not attempt to ridicule QAnon followers or lean too heavily on some of their most extremist beliefs, with so far only sparing mentions of child-eating pedophiles and one mention that John F Kennedy Jr. is actually still alive, a belief widely held by many in the QAnon movement.

The episode does also briefly discussed how QAnon followers are awaiting the moment that the elite satanic pedophiles will be rounded up and executed in a prophecy known as “the storm.”

It also looks into how QAnon is linked to the debunked “pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which falsely alleged influential Democrats were connected to a child sex ring linked to a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Reacting to the show, QAnon supporters also claimed the series will in fact help promote it to a wider audience.

“I honestly expected trash, something mocking the movement,” one telegram user wrote. “Instead it’s informative. I think it will actually open more eyes.”

Others suggested that the episode is a “red pill” moment for QAnon, a term used by conspiracy theorists online referring to people discovering new information.

The phrase, which is discussed in the show’s opening episode, is a reference to the 1999 film The Matrix, where Keanu Reeves’ character chooses to take a red pill and see the “real world” for the first time and not the computer-generated world he currently lives in.

Jules J wrote in a thread on a QAnon Telegram channel with more than 258,000 subscribers: “My theory: I watched the trailer- The trailer appears to be bait for the normies. It makes Q look like a conspiracy/radical cult. I believe it’s to try to get the normies to watch.

“They’re the ones that need to be red pilled. I believe the series will eventually take them to truth—they’ll slowly take them down a path and red pill them. That’s why so many episodes. It’s to condition them for the storm.”

Another influential QAnon Telegram account. StormySleepyJoe, which has more than 56,000 followers, added: My take is its going to be a mix of a hit piece but also great things to wake the sleepy

“Might start slow. But by the 6th episode this will be worth it. Getting people introduced and aware is the key. The vehicle doesn’t matter. Have fun. Don’t sweat the small details. Big picture is Q is coming to millions.”

A person wears a QAnon sweatshirt during a pro-Trump rally on October 3, 2020 in the borough of Staten Island in New York City.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

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