'Reasonable people end up believing completely mad things' - QAnon conspiracy theory explained

2 October 2020, 16:49

By Sam Sholli

People who believe the "completely mad" QAnon conspiracy theory have been subject to an "insidious process", James O'Brien has been told on LBC.

QAnon is an unfounded conspiracy theory which says that President Donald Trump is waging a covert war against paedophiles in the government, business and the media who worship Satan.

Speaking of the theory's appeal, the Athletic UK's Investigations Editor Joey D'Urso told James: "I think the really important thing about this QAnon is [its believers] talk about eating babies in tunnels or whatever and virtually everyone would say that is completely mad.

"But the way this enters people's consciousness is through much more reasonable things about protecting children, about stopping child abuse...this idea that Donald Trump is against paedophilia and child abuse, which every decent person is..."

"So people will see something about stopping child trafficking...and suddenly get down this rabbit hole where suddenly maybe after several months of looking at more and more weird stuff they genuinely believe that Prince Charles is hiding babies tunnels in underneath London.

"So it's a very sort of insidious process where reasonable people end up believing completely mad things."

In response, James said: "Well, like all cults, the entry point is credible or at least plausible and it is once you're in that the sort of clutches of the cult tighten, isn't it?"

Believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory have before speculated that there will come a day of reckoning where prominent figures such as Hillary Clinton will be arrested.

The conspiracy theory took off after October 2017, when an anonymous user made posts on the 4chan message board. The messages were often written in cryptic language and contained pro-Trump themes.

The user signed off as "Q", having claimed to have had US security clearance.

Speaking of QAnon believers more broadly, Mr D'Urso said: "It's like any evidence to support [Q'Anon] is seized upon [and] any evidence against it is ignored."

Mr D'Urso also told LBC about what potential impact the upcoming US presidential election could have on Q'Anon supporters.

He explained: "If Trump wins, he'll have this sort of army of people behind him who might have strange expectations about what he'll do next about battling evil paedophiles that potentially don't exist."

"And if he loses, there will be lots of people who want to invalidate the result because they will think it's a sort of evil stitch-up..."