But in the online cesspools of QAnon, followers were seething, and spinning up predictably racist conspiracy theories to explain away a verdict and a trial they view as simply another part of the deep state’s never-ending effort to take control of the country.
The most common theory being shared on QAnon groups on Telegram, Gab and other fringe websites was that the entire trial was a sham and that Chauvin was simply a crisis actor who was playing a part in some grand conspiracy to dupe the American public and spark a race war.
“I’m just going to go all out and say there is no Derek Chauvin,” a Telegram user called Tiffany wrote. “It's just another show; this actor is a fall guy. Agenda to stage race war or civil unrest. Take your pick.”
Another user called Christine said that “nothing is a coincidence. They are trying to start a race war.”
The organizer of a massive QAnon conference in Dallas next month, John Sabal—known online as “QAnon John”—also weighed in, claiming everyone was simply watching a “movie.”
“The silver lining in what’s going to come out of another series or riots, and looting is that EVERYONE, regardless of which side of the aisle will KNOW that this NEVER had anything to do with ‘Justice for George Floyd,’” Sabal wrote.
Another influential QAnon promoter, known as Pepe Deluxe, wrote that he hadn’t followed the trial—because that was what the mainstream media wanted him to do—but he still managed to lay out a detailed conspiracy theory concluding that Floyd’s murder and Chauvin’s trial were simply a “psyop” orchestrated by the freemasons.
Over on Gab, the site’s founder Andrew Torba, who has openly courted QAnon followers, said the verdict was a sad day for white people—and white men in particular.
“God help you if you’re a white male in this anti-white country,” Torba wrote to his 3.2 million followers.
Torba’s racist views were shared by many major accounts on Gab, including the influential QAnon promoter known as Major Patriot.
Many QAnon followers also picked up on comments made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who claimed on his show Tuesday night that protesters intimidated the jury into arriving at the guilty verdict.
It’s a claim that was echoed by many QAnon supporters: one member of the influential We The Media channel said, “I don't think any police officer can have a fair trial due to them by our Constitution. I don't think the public should be jury, because of situations like this. I'm just saying he didn't get a fair trial. He was already tried by the judges/juries of the media and politicians.”
A poll conducted by the ‘We The Media’ Telegram channel assessed whether its 215,000 subscribers thought Chauvin was guilty. The vast majority voted that he was innocent:
Over on the Great Awakening, a QAnon message board, users had another theory to share. One user called Blind Marksman wrote that the trial verdict was an attempt at distraction, designed to divert attention from the election audit currently taking place in Arizona that QAnon followers firmly believe will result in Trump returning to the White House.
In the absence of any new messages from the movement’s anonymous leader—“Q” hasn’t posted an update in more than four months—QAnon followers have become skilled practitioners of interpreting real world news events in a way that “proves” their conspiracy theories are true.
This was seen recently with QAnon claims that the container ship that blocked the Suez canal was full of children being trafficked by Hilary Clinton and other elites who are part of their imagined global pedophile ring. They also spun up conspiracies around the death of Prince Philip (claiming he died after being vaccinated for COVID-19), Ivanka Trump getting a COVID-19 vaccine (claiming that the picture was a fake), and the massive explosion at Beirut’s port last year that killed 215 people (claiming that the explosion was linked to a global Jewish conspiracy to take over the world).