Kyle Rittenhouse Has Set Off a QAnon Civil War

Kyle Rittenhouse's comments about his former lawyer, a top leader in the QAnon world, has unleashed a toxic battle within the conspiracy movement.
November 25, 2021, 4:43pm
Kyle Rittenhouse pulls numbers of jurors out of a tumbler during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Kyle Rittenhouse pulls numbers of jurors out of a tumbler during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on November 16, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Sean Krajacic-Pool / Getty Images)

While most Americans are preparing to have a nice day with their families on Thanksgiving, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood is spending the holiday on Telegram, complaining about his children, and sparking a civil war in the QAnon world

Wood, who said on Thursday that his children would once again not be spending Thanksgiving with him, has spent the last three days in an increasingly toxic battle on the encrypted messaging app where Wood has blasted his critics and praised his defenders.

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The spat, which began when Kyle Rittenhouse publicly accused Wood of “taking advantage” of him, has consumed the QAnon world, sucking in almost every major figure in the Q universe, including disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell (who is currently in the middle of a four-day live stream marathon), and right-wing talking head Dan Bongino.

QAnon followers, who had until now almost universally seen Wood as a leading figure within the movement, have been divided, unsure whether to continue to follow Wood or turn their backs on him.

As some QAnon believers spend Thanksgiving in Dallas awaiting JFK’s return, the Wood controversy threatens to cause a schism within the QAnon church that could irrevocably change the course of the movement. 

The controversy began, as many things do these days, with Tucker Carlson. The increasingly far-right adjacent Fox News host secured the first interview with Rittenhouse after he was acquitted of all charges in the killing of two people and wounding another with an assault rifle during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer.

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During the interview, Rittenhouse said Wood, who briefly represented the teenager last year, had “taken advantage” of him, had been the reason he spent 87 days in jail, and said the $2-million raised by Wood’s Fight Back group for Rittenhouse’s bail was "for their own benefit."

Almost immediately the Wood pile-on began.

“I’ve told everyone what a horrible person Lin Wood is,” Greene tweeted moments after the interview aired, adding that Wood’s actions were “evil” and said he “should go to jail for what he did to Kyle.”

Many others joined in such as Bongino, former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, and Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec, but what really sparked a wider split in the QAnon world was Wood’s criticism of Flynn, seen by many within the movement as the de facto leader of QAnon today.

When Flynn didn’t come out swinging in defense of Wood, the lawyer lashed out, making wild accusations about Flynn and his links to Israeli spying company NSO, his meeting with Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, and his use of an obscure prayer during a religious conference in September that some believed was Satanic.

Wood does not blame Rittenhouse for what has happened, but instead blames Dave Hancock, the former executive director of Wood’s Fight Back fundraising group.

Wood alleges that Hancock (who he has referred to variously as Fraudcock, Bellycock, Thiefcock, and Liarcock in recent Telegram posts) is part of an orchestrated campaign to defame him which is being perpetrated by the “mockingbird media.” He also alleges that Hancock is in a relationship with Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, and has used this relationship to influence what the teenager says.

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As usual, Wood has provided no evidence to back up his claims.

While many major figures have blasted Wood, there are some who have sided with the lawyer. 

These include Lindell, who thanked Wood for “all of his efforts and for reaching out to me and others to bail out Kyle Rittenhouse.” Also part of Team Wood is QAnon John, the influential organizer of the QAon-centric Patriot Roundup events that took place in Dallas and Las Vegas earlier this year.

Jordan Sather, another influential QAnon figure, however, has sided with Team Flynn, claiming Wood has promoted “numerous frauds, clickbait accounts, and highly questionable individuals” on his Telegram channel. Sather, for context, has promoted the use of bleach to treat COVID-19.

With the anonymous leader of QAnon now silent for almost a whole year, and with Trump languishing in Mar-a-Lago without a Twitter account, QAnon followers have been left to find new leaders to follow.

Flynn and Wood, who have appeared multiple times on stage together over the course of the last year at MAGA conferences, have become two of the biggest and most influential voices in the movement.

As a result, any falling out between the pair will have a significant impact on the wider QAnon movement and what direction it takes in the future. Many have predicted that QAnon is likely to break off into smaller factions, and we have already seen this happen with the JFK cult in Dallas in recent weeks.

But maybe there is still a chance for reconciliation. On Wednesday night Wood said that he forgives his enemies and on Thursday morning, he booted up Telegram and told his 725,000 followers: “I find peace of mind in knowing that informed, non-brainwashed people who love America know that the false accusations against me should be thrown in the garbage can like the turkey bones after Thanksgiving lunch.”