Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8Chan, said that the operators of the infamous internet forum 8chan were in regular contact with the person or people responsible for the pro-Trump QAnon phenomenon, and implemented design changes to the forum board on their behalf.
The conspiracy theories comprising the QAnon phenomenon allege that President Trump is secretly dismantling a global satanic pedophile ring that involves top Democrats, Hollywood stars, and business leaders. Followers of QAnon believe that a Trump administration official with a special security clearance has been posting cryptic riddles on 8chan for them to decode, supposedly revealing details about Trump’s secret grand plan. Right-wing media personalities and advocates continue to push the conspiracy theory’s legitimacy, despite the body count associated with its following.
During an interview on QAnon Anonymous, a podcast that critically examines QAnon and other conspiracy theories, Brennan said that the person or people writing posts under the moniker “Q” had communicated with the father and son who ran 8chan until the site went dark earlier this month. According to Brennan, Q requested additional features and design changes be made to 8chan, to which the website’s owner Jim Watkins and administrator Ron Watkins reportedly agreed. Brennan said that because he had a better understanding of the mechanics of 8chan, he was asked to implement design changes. Watkins had also asked writers for 8chan’s blog, The Goldwater, to author pro-QAnon articles, Brennan said.
Brennan said that the Watkins’ have “given direct assistance to Q multiple times, and that shouldn’t surprise you.”
“So Q is kind of chatting with them?” QAnon Anonymous co-host Julian Feeld asked.
“Yes. Yes. Yes,” Brennan said.
“In [direct messages]?” Feeld said.
“Yes. They have direct contact with Q,” Brennan said. “Whoever Q is, they have direct contact and they actually worked hard to convince Q to stay on 8chan. Like, they wrote a feature just for Q called a ‘secure tripcode feature.’ Ronald was calling it so-called ‘super secure tripcodes’ and that was only for Q.”
Q posts were identified on 8chan with a unique code that could be used to determine whether messages were spawning from the same user on what was an otherwise anonymous imageboard. As Mother Jones’ Ali Breland reported, “Without the 8chan ID, there’s no reason to believe that whoever is claiming to be Q actually is.”
Brennan then claimed that the Watkins asked him “to make a so-called ‘Q-proof’” in which Brennan said he was photographed holding a blue 3D-printed Q. He went along with it because he believed that Jim Watkins may have genuinely believed in QAnon.
As for the identity of Q, Brennan couldn’t say.
“I wish I could tell you who Q was. If I could, I would tell you,” Brennan said. “I have no love lost for these Q people. You know, they harass me constantly. You know, they email me the stupidest shit.”
Since multiple acts of racist mass murder were linked to 8chan, Brennan has become an outspoken critic of 8chan. Brennan gave up control of the site in 2015 and stopped working with 8chan last year, according to The New York Times.
(This article was updated at 4:19 p.m. to clarify the relationship between Jim and Ron Watkins.)