On the face of it, the Monday-evening leak of a draft majority opinion indicating the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade would seem like good news for the QAnon movement, which is deeply enmeshed with the American religious right.
But no matter what happens, QAnon believers’ first reaction is usually that it’s some sort of deep-state plot.
So when Politico published the draft opinion on Monday night, QAnon conspiracy boards lit up with claims that the timing of the leak was designed to distract people from the launch of a new film called “2000 Mules,” which is the latest conspiracy-laden “documentary” to allege massive voter fraud took place during the 2020 election, rigging the result in favor of President Joe Biden.
The film is the brainchild of right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, a well-known conservative troll who was pardoned by former President Donald Trump back in 2018 after pleading guilty to violating federal campaign finance law in 2014.
D’Souza has been an unrelenting booster of the bogus claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and in his latest work uses cell phone data to allege that certain individuals in swing states dropped off multiple ballots to ballot boxes in the lead up to the vote. This, of course, was was legal in many states, as lawmakers implemented new rules to accommodate concerns about in-person voting due to COVID-19.
The film, which Trump promoted during his rally in Ohio last weekend, is currently only showing in a limited number of theaters, which the film’s backers have rented out and are selling tickets for on their website. It will have its virtual premiere next weekend, when people can watch it online for $20—or attend a glitzy in-person premiere in Las Vegas for $500.
VICE News has not seen the film, but based on D’Souza’s own allegations in media interviews leading up to its release, it appears that he is conflating laws that made it easier to vote during the pandemic with allegations of an “election heist.” The Washington Post has already pre-bunked these and more of the movie’s claims.
But actually seeing the film is not important, at least not for all the QAnon fanatics online on Monday night, who immediately saw the hand of the deep state at work in the Roe leak.
“Funny how this is happening at the same time that 2000 Mules has premiered,” one member of a popular QAnon channel on Telegram wrote Tuesday morning.
Others pointed out that “the opinion was written in February. It was leaked TODAY in an effort to start a firestorm and drown out the noise about 2000 Mules.”
“I’m not saying this ruling is not important but there’s something else coming that they want the public to avoid and in my opinion it’s the release of 2000 Mules,” another user wrote.
Over on the QAnon-centric Great Awakening message board, posters claimed the leak was proof that the “deep state” was panicking. “This is a super desperate move by a cornered adversary,” one user wrote.
In reaction to news that there were pro-choice protesters outside the Supreme Court on Monday night, one user fell back on a well-worn conspiracy trope: “Paid crisis actors folks, every single one of them. Eyes should be on 2000 Mules, not this.”
This belief was backed up by a poster on the Great Awakening board. “They look like hired folks. Not your normal March for Life attendees. Stand by for possible false flag/fences go back up in DC.”
Others pushed back against the narrative that the leak was a deep state plot. Antisemitic QAnon influencer Craig Longley told his 115,000 Telegram followers that rather than being a distraction, the leak was all part of the plan and that “there is no distraction. This is turning into the flood foretold.”
But one channel member went even further on Tuesday morning, calling the leak a “a triple blind side.” According to this user, “covering up 2000 Mules is the small one” because it could also alter the outcome of the Roe v. Wade decision. Finally, the user claims the leak is designed to cover up the Biden administration’s decision to $33 billion in aid to Ukraine which will “return to the USA so the Dems can give $10,000,000 for each voting entries and counties in the USA. They will continue to do this until the military intervenes.”
The conspiracy was not confined for long on fringe message boards and Telegram channels, quickly moving to mainstream social media thanks in large part to Josh Barnett, a Republican Congressional candidate in Arizona.
Barnett has frequently posted unquestioning content about QAnon, including a 2019 Facebook post that used multiple QAnon hashtags such as #WeAreQ.
Like many political candidates do when their links to QAnon have been made public, Barnett has attempted to distance himself from the conspiracy movement saying he doesn’t know much about Q. But his tweet on Monday night shows he’s at least still swimming in the same conspiratorial cesspool as the movement’s true believers.
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