Recent Focus on QAnon

Months after the January 6, 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, the QAnon conspiracy theory continues to gain traction in the U.S., and pose potential threats to American democracy and public safety. QAnon’s main premise is that prominent members of the Democratic Party and Hollywood elite comprise a transnational ring of Satan-worshiping pedophiles engaging in sex trafficking and cannibalism, and that Donald Trump is leading the fight against these evil forces. Two recently published reports help shed a spotlight on the current developments of QAnon in the U.S.

Released by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, the May 2021 update of QAnon Offenders in the United States describes the characteristics of QAnon criminal offenders and the nature of their crimes. According to the report, 79 QAnon offenders have committed crimes in the U.S., and nearly half of them participated in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Among the offenders who have committed crimes before and after the Capitol insurrection, 61% were found to have documented mental health issues.

In Understanding QAnon’s Connection to American Politics, Religion, and Media Consumption, the Public Religion Research Institute compares the levels of QAnon belief/support in Americans based on political affiliation, religious beliefs, and media consumption preferences. Among the key findings:

  • 15% of all Americans agree that “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.” Republicans (23%) are significantly more likely to agree than Independents (14%) and Democrats (8%).
  • Across religion, White Evangelical Protestants (22%), Hispanic Protestants (21%), and Mormons (21%) are most likely to be QAnon believers. Those who are Jewish (2%) are least likely.

For more information on topics related to this piece, visit the HSDL Featured Topics on Disinformation and Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism.

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