QAnon’s ‘Q’ re-emerges on far-right message board after two years of silence

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP</span>
Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP

The leader of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which captivated a wave of Donald Trump supporters and infiltrated the Republican party, began posting again over the weekend, after nearly two years of silence.

“Q”, as the figurehead of the movement is known, published three cryptic posts on a message board on Friday night – the account’s first posts since December 2020.

“Shall we play a game once more?” the account posted on the far-right board 8kun. The post was signed: “Q”.

The account had a unique identifier, the New York Times reported, which had been used on previous Q posts.

When a user asked why Q had been absent, the account replied: “It had to be done this way.”

Later, the account posted: “Are you ready to serve your country again? Remember your oath.”

QAnon is an antisemitic internet conspiracy theory that swept the US right wing in 2017. Proponents claim that Trump was waging a secret battle against a cabal of pedophiles and its “deep state” collaborators.

Posts from Q are known to followers as “Q drops”, and they gripped thousands of Trump supporters during his presidency. QAnon T-shirts are still a common sight at Trump rallies, and the baseless theory has also entered Republican politics.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, US congresswomen who represent Georgia and Colorado respectively, have previously expressed support for QAnon, and other QAnon followers are running for Congress in the November midterm elections.

Earlier this year two separate linguistic studies determined that Paul Furber, a South African software developer, was behind Q’s early posts, before Ron Watkins took over the account in 2018.

Watkins’ father, Jim Watkins, owns the 8kun site – previously called 8chan – where Q posted their drops, and Ron Watkins is a former administrator of the platform.

Watkins has denied any involvement with QAnon, and the account stopped posting after Trump’s defeat. However, the silence failed to dampen enthusiasm among the right for the conspiracy theory.

Q’s new posts come as Watkins is running as a Republican for a congressional seat in Arizona. He has raised little money and secured no notable endorsements, and pundits are widely expecting him to be eliminated from the race when the primary is held 2 August.