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

2 October 2020, 16:49

QAnon conspiracy theory broken down on LBC

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.

James O'Brien's reaction to Trump contracting coronavirus

"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.

John Bolton: Trump second term would cause "irreparable damage"

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."

US reporter gives Nick Ferrari the latest on Donald Trump getting Covid-19

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..."

More James O'Brien

See more More James O'Brien

Londoners to question the Mayor at annual State of London Debate with LBC

Londoners to question the Mayor at annual State of London Debate with LBC

Sacked borders watchdog David Neal said the Home Office is 'dysfunctional' and needs reform.

'It goes to the very top': Sacked border watchdog slams Home Office and calls for reform after Cleverly row

Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms

Sir Keir Starmer has defended comments he made about Margaret Thatcher earlier this month.

Starmer defends Thatcher comments as he says he ‘completely disagrees’ with former prime minister’s politics

A caller to James O’Brien’s programme has shared footage of the extraordinary destruction done to his newly purchased property just outside of Durham.

Property investor's shock at 'unexplainable level of damage' he discovered after buying new home

James Cleverly replaced Suella Braverman as home secretary on Monday

'I've spent more time with James Cleverly this week than with Suella Braverman in the last year', Sadiq Khan tells LBC

James O'Brien discusses Suella Braverman's 'destructionist' leadership style with a caller

'She's a destructionist': James O'Brien caller claims Suella Braverman governs like 'a five-year-old'

James O'Brien

'She definitely has something on him': Caller and James O'Brien debate why the PM hasn't sacked Suella Braverman yet

'A complete reset of the top' is needed says caller.

'We're being let down': There is a 'complete disconnection' between parliamentary and local Conservatives says caller

James O'Brien

'It's essential that people are able to protest peacefully against war', says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak 'almost physically moves away' from Suella Braverman in House of Commons debate, says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

'Suella Braverman succeeded - she's caused hate', claims caller after Home Secretary criticises pro-Palestine marches

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

James O'Brien on Dagestan

'It's a hatred as old as religion itself': James O'Brien analyses escalating anti-Semitism after Muslim crowd storms Dagestan airport

Carol Vorderman shocked about UK Poverty

'One million children are living in destitution': Carol Vorderman struggles to comprehend stark wealth inequality in the UK

Wes Streeting on dentistry

Wes Streeting invites the government to steal Labour's policy to solve 'dickensian' NHS dentist crisis

James O'Brien

'I think they're the loneliest voters in Britain', James O'Brien claims after Tories' double by-election defeat

JOB and caller Andy

Biden's visit to Israel is to show that the US stands 'unequivocally' with Israel says James O'Brien caller

JOB and Usman

Israel's current response will only 'strengthen' Hamas by rearing Gazans who seek revenge warns this James O'Brien caller

JOB on deaths in conflict

James O'Brien unpacks the 'controversial' feeling of being 'equally devastated' by Palestinian and Israeli deaths

JOB on starmer speech

Keir Starmer is using 'working class as the opposite of having a sense of entitlement', notes James O'Brien

JOB on HS2 promises

James O'Brien criticises Rishi Sunak's watering down of 'illustrative' Network North projects funded by HS2 cut

Sadiq Khan and James O'Brien

Sadiq Khan declares there is 'no place for anti-Semitism' in London as kosher restaurant in Golders Green attacked

James O'Brien on the challenge HS2 scrappage poses to Labour.

‘How much can Rishi Sunak knock down before Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister?, asks James O’Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak is like an 'incontinent cat': James O'Brien slams Tories ahead of PM's Party Conference speech

JoB and Jeremy Hunt

Navy veteran deeply hurt by Jeremy Hunt's plans to clamp down on benefit claimants

James O'Brien on Tory tactics in the upcoming election.

Tories desperately seeking wedge issues is the 'only way' they will retain power in 2024, says James O'Brien

James and caller Mervin on knife crime

'I'd prefer you to go to jail than die': James O'Brien is left aghast by this caller's father's stance on knife possession

James O'Brien

James O'Brien ridicules those prioritising Labour's private school VAT plans over the cost of living crisis

James O'Brien

'I mean this is a novel': James O'Brien hears why this caller blames Labour for HS2 problems

James O'Brien

James O'Brien takes aim at uninformed 'idiots' criticising Keir Starmer for not wanting to diverge from EU rules