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Did QAnon’s Secret Leader Out Himself To HBO? He Denies It Now

Documentary filmmaker Cullen Hoback has been hunting for the leader of QAnon for three years. In the final episode of his six-part HBO series “Q: Into the Storm” it appears Hoback has bagged his Holy Grail.

In an interview with Ron Watkins, the longtime administrator of the message board 8kun, the conspiratorial movement’s online home, Watkins appears to let his guard down and reveals his involvement with the bizarre, false conspiracy theory. In one of the final scenes of the documentary, Watkins tells Hoback in a remote interview about how he shared baseless claims about voter fraud after Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election loss: “It was basically three years of intelligence training, teaching normies how to do intelligence work. It was basically what I was doing anonymously before, but never as Q.”

(Screen capture via HBO)

After letting that little gem slip out Watkins quickly realizes his blunder and attempts to cover it with a Cheshire cat-like smile. Hoback, however, was on to him. “See that smile,” the filmmaker says. “Ron had slipped up. He knew and I knew it. After three tireless years of cat and mouse, well …” The two of them – the interviewer and interviewee – both could do nothing but devolve into laughter about the conclusion of the hunt.

Watkins attempted to reel it all back in, clearing his throat and smiling, then saying, “Never as Q. I promise. I am not Q.”

He also attempted dismiss his admission to his Telegram subscribers, writing, “Friendly reminder: I am not Q. Have a good weekend.”

Not everyone is convinced that Hoback has succeeded in cracking the QAnon code. To many it makes no sense that one of the biggest conspiracy theory movements on the Internet, which has incited violence and criminal acts and is designated by the FBI as a domestic terrorism threat, could be masterminded by a father and son duo in the Philippines whose previous claim to fame was child pornography, hate speech and extremist memes.

“At the end of the day, the HBO documentary ends exactly where we were before: That Ron Watkins is the one with the ability to be Q or know Q, and that perhaps his father Jim Watkins also played some role in continuing the Q persona. … The ‘definitive proof’ is still missing,” Rita Katz, executive director of SITE Intelligence Group, said to the Washington Post.

“Even if it was only Ron Watkins, the movement has grown far beyond one person or alias. It is now a global societal virus that has become a vessel for everything from [anti-vaccine] misinformation and coronavirus conspiracy theories to political agendas,” Katz added. But “everything Jim or Ron Watkins say should be taken with skepticism — even if that statement comes in the form of a bizarre ‘slip-up.'”



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