Jim Watkins, the owner of 8kun and one of the people who facilitated the rise of QAnon to become a global conspiracy movement, claims that he has purchased Kiwi Farms.
Watkins made this claim during an episode of a conspiracy-filled internet show where he regularly makes appearances. On Thursday night, Watkins told those watching that he was busy trying to bring his own website 8kun back online after it had been knocked offline earlier this week.
He also claimed that some of the issues 8kun was experiencing could be “because I purchased Kiwi Farms.” Watkins offered no further details about his claim.
Kiwi Farms, a far-right hate site whose members viciously target and harass people online, was taken offline earlier this month following a high-profile campaign by trans activist Clara “Keffals” Sorrenti, who had been harassed, doxed, and “swatted” by members of the Kiwi Farms forum.
On Friday morning when asked by VICE News if Watkins’ claim was accurate, the owner and operator of Kiwi Farms, Josh Moon simply said: “No.”
He added that Watkins’ was “just trying to cause me problems” and described him as “a failed pornographer turned ‘free speech’ grifter.”
He also addressed the issue on his Telegram channel while making fun of Watkins: “To the evil person who accepted Bitcoin from this elderly person and sold him a piece of napkin with ‘owner of Kiwi Farms’ written on it in crayon, you should be ashamed of yourself. It's not fair to take advantage of our society's most vulnerable.”
Kiwi Farms was taken offline when the DDoS-protection company Cloudflare succumbed to public pressure and pulled its support for the site. Since then, Moon has jumped from one service provider to another to try and keep Kiwi Farms online, but most efforts have failed. Kiwi Farms is accused of ruining people’s lives and has been linked as a factor in at least three suicides of people who were targeted by the site’s users.
The latest effort came on Thursday when the .net domain briefly reappeared online under the protection of a Portuguese company called Daim Wall. However, that lasted mere hours and soon the company had announced that it too was pulling its service.
Watkins has worked with Moon and Kiwi Farms already, providing some services to it via a company called VanwaTech, which Watkins is involved in running. However, those efforts backfired when attacks against VanwaTech’s infrastructure not only brought Kiwi Farms offline but also knocked 8kun offline.
Despite offering to help via VanwaTech, Watkins clearly does not like Moon. “I don’t like Kiwi Farms, I despise them, I despise the owner, personally I hate the owner,” Watkins said in a livestream last week.
On Friday morning, a version of Kiwi Farms was accessible on the publicly accessible internet, as well as a dark net version. Moon said he was still working with VanwaTech to try and keep the site online, but said that if VanwaTech CEO Nick Lim “can't explain why Jim is saying these things,” Moon won’t be working with the company for long.
Lim did not respond to a request for comment from VICE News.
When asked what his plan was to get Kiwi Farms permanently back online, Moon said that he has a list of domain registrars, hosting services, DDoS mitigation services, and other providers. “I am going down the list and plugging them in. Then, the angry mob tests them for me by sending in complaints. By the time we reach the end of the list, I hope to have at least one of each left.”
In the hours between Watkins making the claim and Moon dismissing it, users in a Kiwi Farms Telegram channel were pretty confused about what was happening:
“So what's this shit about Watkins purchasing the farms?” one member wrote.
Some users seem happy about the idea, claiming that while Watkins is “a snake, he's probably the only person online as or possibly more resilient than [Moon].”
But others are definitely not welcoming of Watkins’ involvement. “Jim, as in Jim Watkins? If there's one surefire way to kill KF, it would be him taking over and running it into the ground lol,” one user wrote.