Within minutes of the Ever Given ship getting stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Wednesday, an incident that’s created chaos in global supply chains, QAnon supporters were spreading wild conspiracies that the ship was operated by Hillary Clinton and carrying a cargo of child sex slaves.
The claims were based on the fact that the Taiwanese shipping company that operates the ship is called Evergreen, which was Clinton’s secret service name when she was first lady.
The baseless theory was given further credence — in the minds of QAnon followers at least — when it emerged that the ship’s call sign was “H3RC” which is close enough to Clinton’s own initials (HRC) for QAnon followers to make the link.
The theory quickly spread on Telegram and Gab, the platforms QAnon followers have fled to in the wake of a purge by mainstream social networks in recent months.
But the claims also made their way to Twitter and Facebook, where fact-checking group PolitiFact flagged and debunked them.
“There is no evidence that an Evergreen ship stuck in the Suez Canal is linked to a human trafficking operation run by Hillary Clinton. That claim has been pushed by supporters of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory,” Daniel Funke, an expert in online misinformation at PolitiFact, wrote.
But as the efforts to re-float the massive ship have failed over the past few days, QAnon followers used the time to fall even further down this rabbit hole, and concoct some incredibly complex and entirely fabricated allegations.
Like the claim that the ship’s captain looks a lot like Monica Lewinsky.
The problem with this theory is that it is based on a fake rumor circulating on social media in Egypt claiming that Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt’s first female shipmaster, is the captain of the Ever Given, which is incorrect.
Another theory addresses the fact that before the ship entered the Suez Canal, it charted a course that looks like it was drawing a giant dick in the middle of the Red Sea.
A spokesperson for ship tracking site vesselfinder.com told VICE World News that the ship’s tracking data was accurate and that “there is no room for some kind of conspiracies or false data.”
But QAnon followers had different ideas.
According to one lengthy theory posted in a popular Telegram channel devoted to the QAnon theory and former President Donald Trump, the incident was the result of the ship’s computers being hacked by those friendly to the QAnon cause.
“Those ships are on auto-pilot most of the time. The computers do the work. I am suggesting that the ship’s computers were hacked. My suspicions lean toward the White Hats. This was part of the plan,” reads one post that’s been viewed over 7,000 times.
The theory goes on to compare the shipping canal to a birth canal, positing that the incident was a sign that new information about the unmasking of the deep state was about to come to light.
“Using a canal is symbolic of a birthing canal. Things are about to happen worldwide. The birthing of the information coming from this mess will be the beginning of the end of the deep state.”
Many QAnon supporters are also pointing to an old post by the group’s anonymous leader Q, who wrote cryptically in February 2018 to “watch the water” — a phrase that’s been rolled out repeatedly over the years as “proof” that the QAnon conspiracy is real whenever something happens on or near water.
Over on the Great Awakening, a QAnon message board, a post pinned at the top of the site is an elaborate “proof” board filled with seemingly unconnected facts about the ship linked to QAnon prophecies by red arrows, disparate imagery, and obscure and arcane references. In other words, a typical QAnon “proof.”
The ship situation isn’t the first time QAnon followers have used the company Evergreen as a way of linking Clinton to some real-world incident. Back in August, QAnon followers tried to link her to the massive explosion in Beirut that killed over 150 people, all because an Evergreen shipping container was seen in video footage from the blast site.