QAnon conspiracy theorists have been on the run online for months, after a series of crackdowns on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook scattered many of the pro-Trump movement’s biggest names to lesser-known sites with much smaller audiences.
Some QAnon believers, though, have still managed to set up shop on a major social platform: Twitch, the Amazon-owned live streaming site. Now Twitch, better known as a place to watch people play video games rather than spread hoaxes about a blood-drinking cabal that controls the world, has become an unlikely refuge for some of QAnon’s biggest promoters as other platforms crack down on them.
A QAnon promoter who goes by the handle “RedPill78,” for example, streams several times a week on Twitch to more than 12,000 followers. The channel’s operator hosts one of the leading QAnon shows online, featuring appearances from “RedPill78” as a Twitch “partner,” according to Twitch analytics site SullyGnome, meaning he receives a cut of the revenue from ads that Twitch plays on his channel.
On a Tuesday broadcast of the show, RedPill78’s host falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
“He beat ’em again in 2020, they just cheated real good,” the host, whose name is not revealed on the channel, said.
The RedPill78 show on Twitch has also become a forum for other leading QAnon promoters to push their own conspiracy theories on the site. In January, for example, the RedPill78 show on Twitch featured “Juan O. Savin,” the alias for a man some QAnon believers claim is the late John F. Kennedy Jr. in disguise. A QAnon channel on Twitch associated with RedPill78 that goes by the name “M3ThodsToMadness” has also invited on major QAnon promoters, broadcasting to roughly 5,000 followers on the site.
RedPill78 isn’t the only QAnon outlet that’s taken root on Twitch. The site has also become a haven for Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, a notorious QAnon promoter and one-time Trump election fraud witness who goes by the screen name “ToreSays.”
Maras-Lindeman, who has been accused by the state of North Dakota of raising money intended for veterans and the homeless and instead spending it on McDonald’s and other personal expenses, appeared in pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s lawsuit as an anonymous intelligence contractor making wild allegations about voter fraud.
On Twitch, Maras-Lindeman has built a QAnon community of more than 12,000 followers, gathering them together several times a week to discuss conspiracy theories. On her Tuesday show, Maras-Lindeman welcomed her fans back to Twitch by playing an acoustic cover of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” which appeared to symbolize for the audience chaotic events currently occurring in the world.
“We didn’t start the fire, but we will put it out,” Maras-Lindeman said.
Maras-Lindeman doesn’t hide her QAnon affiliations on Twitch, where her logo replaces the “O” in her “ToreSays” handle with a fiery “Q.” Twitch users who subscribe to her channel get access to a set of custom emojis, including the logo for vigilante superhero “The Punisher”—a popular symbol for QAnon believers. Maras-Lindeman spent much of her Twitch show on Tuesday accusing a rival right-wing figure, and speaking ominously about “orgies” and “bloodbaths.”
A Twitch spokesperson declined to comment on specific accounts, but said in a statement that the site’s users have to follow rules forbidding “hateful conduct, harassment and threats of violence.”
“We evaluate all accounts under the same criteria and take action when we have evidence that a user has violated our policies,” the statement read. “This includes content that encourages or incites self-destructive behavior, or attempts or threatens to physically harm others.
Several smaller QAnon accounts have managed to flourish on Twitch as well, even though their connections to the conspiracy theory are obvious. One QAnon-related Twitch user with 1,200 followers on the site, for example, explains his politics in his introductory video as “a cabal of secret societies has controlled the world for 200-plus years.”
Twitch has traditionally avoided the kind of major QAnon communities that plagued platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, a fact that may have helped its current QAnon promoters avoid being banned even amid the post-Capitol riot crackdowns on QAnon elsewhere on the internet.
Still, not every QAnon account has managed to survive on Twitch. Patriot’s Soapbox, a major QAnon promoter that streamed 24 hours a day on YouTube until it was banned from the platform in October, lasted a few months longer on Twitch before being permanently banned in December.