- Hundreds of QAnon supporters gathered in Dallas, Texas, Tuesday.
- They believed that JFK Jr, who died in 1999, would announce himself as Donald Trump’s running mate.
- The far-right movement has continued to evolve despite a series of failed predictions.
Hundreds of QAnon supporters gathered in Dallas, Texas, because they believed that John F Kennedy Jr would appear and announce that he was not dead and would be running for the White House with Donald Trump.
According to local outlet Dallas News, adherents of the sprawling online conspiracy theory movement started to gather on Monday night in downtown Dallas. By lunchtime Tuesday, there was a sizeable crowd at the Dealey Plaza, the site of the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy, JFK Jr’s father.
JFK Jr died in a plane crash in 1999, aged 38, but many QAnon adherents believe that he is still alive and has been covertly guiding their movement. They think that he is in alliance with former President Donald Trump to destroy an elite cabal of child-abusing Democrats and Hollywood stars who control the government.
Ben Collins, who covers disinformation for NBC News, tweeted that the belief JFK Jr was to appear on November 2 sometime before midnight originated from a small number of accounts on Telegram, the messaging app where many QAnon supporters congregate.
-Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 2, 2021
Supporters of QAnon gathered in Dallas also believed that other dead celebrities, including basketball player Kobe Bryant, killed in a helicopter crash in 2020, and comedian Robin Williams, who died by suicide in 2014, would also announce they were alive at the event, reported Will Sommer, the author of a new book on the movement.
-Will Sommer (@willsommer) November 2, 2021
But by late afternoon, it became clear that JFK Jr would not be making a return, and supporters began to drift away. In Telegram channels, some QAnon adherents accused those who showed up of believing the wrong influencers and being a gullible splinter faction. Others invented new conspiracy theories, claiming that the event was a setup to discredit the movement.
Though many mocked the gathering, Jared Holt, a researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab, saw it as symptomatic of a deeper malaise.
“For people to be in the state of mind where they are utterly and hopelessly detached from reality opens up very dangerous possibilities for what that individual may do going forward,” Holt told the Washington Post.
The QAnon movement started early in the Trump presidency, with supporters following a series of cryptic clues left online by “Q,” a poster claiming to be a top government official. The movement came to regard Trump as a kind of savior figure. Followers have been linked to a series of violent plots and played a leading role in the January 6 insurrection.
A series of predictions believed by adherents of the movement have not materialized, including the belief that Donald Trump was to again take power on March 4 despite losing last year’s presidential election. But that hasn’t stopped the movement from continuing to spawn new conspiracy theories.