There’s the boogeyman. There’s Sasquatch. There’s the Loch Ness Monster. And then there’s Q Anon.
That last moniker there was the one given to a peculiar internet specimen whose sporadic posts on anonymous message boards spawned an enormous and enthralling conspiracy theory that wouldn’t get the green light in Hollywood on account of how far-fetched it was.
As it stands today, Q is allegedly working in close proximity to President Trump on a massive, secret war against an elite pedophiliac cult. (I don’t make these things up, I merely report on ’em).
The thing is, there is no way of telling who Q is. This could be an 8th grader in Oklahoma seeing how far he can take it, or Q might just be a Russian plot to further divide the United States. We truly don’t know at this point in time…
…Unless Austin Steinbart is who he says he is.
In the bizarre world of QAnon conspiracy theorists, 29-year-old Austin Steinbart was a rising star. A segment of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory group believed he was the mysterious “Q,” the anonymous internet figure whose clues have convinced a portion of the president’s base that Donald Trump is engaged in a shadowy war against pedophile-cannibals in the Democratic Party.
Steinbart—dubbed “Baby Q” by his fans—claimed he could get away with anything because he was a super-spy for Trump. In online arguments, Steinbart insisted he should have been arrested “100 times over” for his actions. And the fact that he hadn’t been arrested for, say, threatening to kill the Queen of Denmark was proof that Trump had given him immunity from prosecution.
“Seems like I should have been ARRESTED by now, eh?” Steinbart tweeted to one of his foes in late March, adding a sarcastic thinking-face emoji.
A few days later, FBI agents arrested him.
Steinbart now faces an extortion charge over his online antics, all apparently committed in an attempt to convince gullible online conspiracy theorists that he’s an all-powerful intelligence agent. As part of his attempts at self-promotion, Steinbart allegedly posted the confidential brain scans and medical files of former professional football players online—images he was able to obtain while allegedly getting a scan of his own.
But this isn’t anything new in the history of Q.
Steinbart’s arrest marks just the latest time a QAnon believer has been charged with a crime. Two others have been charged with murder, including one accused of murdering the head of the Gambino crime family. The conspiracy theory has also surfaced in two child kidnapping plots, and a 2018 terrorist incident near the Hoover Dam.
Online, Steinbart had amassed nearly 20,000 Twitter followers and 23,000 YouTube subscribers, even as he infuriated more established QAnon hucksterswith his brash attitude. In rambling YouTube videos, Steinbart claimed that he was “Q,” was somehow in communication with a time-traveling version of himself, and would soon be appointed to run Trump’s Space Force — a nonsensical narrative that nevertheless won him the devotion of a number of QAnon believers.
But prosecutors and the FBI paint another picture of Steinbart in court documents, describing a young man with “unaddressed behavior or mental health issues” willing to commit crimes to build up his profile in the online conspiracy theory world.
So, is this Q Anon, finally behind bar? Or is the real Q still out there, covertly aiding in the most ridiculous secret battle we’ve ever imagined?