How the Covid pandemic aided the spread of the cult conspiracy movement in Europe
QAnon began in the United States, but its outlandish extremist theories have since spread to Europe – and are gaining popularity.
Lange Frans hasn’t had a hit single in years.
Now, the former lead singer of the hip-hop group D-Men records two-hour podcasts in which he discusses far-fetched theories about vaccines, UFOs, and “the strange things” surrounding the 2001 terrorist attacks.
He enjoys QAnon internet conspiracy theories, which claim that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping paedophiles.
He tells me, “This is the thing that no one wants to talk about.”
“The QAnon people believe that these paedophiles in high places must be removed.”
Although QAnon began in the United States, researchers have discovered that since the outbreak of the pandemic, Europe has become an increasingly fertile ground for the movement and other conspiracy theories.
Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain are all becoming QAnon hotspots, according to a report by the campaign group Get The Trolls Out!
Lange Frans had nearly 100,000 YouTube subscribers before the channel took him down in October for breaking rules on hate speech and misinformation, most notably when he accused Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of protecting a rumored shadowy network of paedophiles without evidence.
“Censorship,” according to Lange Frans.
He’s not alone in his belief in QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory.
On social media, the QAnon community in Europe is growing.
They allege various conspiracies involving factors such as 5G mobile networks and coronavirus, sometimes tying them together in a grand theory about how 5G installations caused the pandemic.
Many QAnon supporters, like Lange Frans, have been banned from Twitter and YouTube for violating the social media giants’ terms of service.
Groups like the DeQodeurs in France, the Querdenker “lateral thinking” movement in Germany, and Denmark’s Men in Black have shifted to other internet and social media platforms to share the alleged truth that the establishment is attempting to silence.
For example, German conspiracy theorist and anti-Semitic extremist Attila Hildmann, a celebrity vegan cook, claims Berlin’s Pergamon Museum is the seat of Satan’s “throne.”
Greetings, Mr. Hildmann.
News summary from Infosurhoy in the United Kingdom.
QAnon in Europe – How the Covid pandemic helped spread the cult conspiracy movement
What is Qanon?
QAnon first emerged on the website 4chan in 2017 and gained huge global prominence when its supporters helped lead the January 2021 storming of the US Capitol in the last days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
It takes its name from a supposed individual called “Q”, believed to be a senior US official close to Donald Trump. Its followers in the US believe eccentric theories, notably that Trump was recruited by military generals to run for president to break up this criminal conspiracy.
Other far-fetched notions include the idea that John F Kennedy Jr is not dead and will soon return to lead them, and that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizzeria – and some even say she would kill and eat victims to extract a life-extending chemical called adrenochrome.
The FBI considers QAnon a potential source of extremist violence. But QAnon has powerful supporters: Trump has refused to disavow believers, his ally Michael Flynn has an “oath” to QAnon and Fox News host Tucker Carlson calls them “gentle patriots”.