Wealthy Scientologist John Mappin lives in a castle, loves President Donald Trump, and spends his time online boosting byzantine conspiracy theories, including QAnon. He’s a British right-wing political aficionado with ties to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and one of the GOP’s most powerful youth organizations. On Sunday, Mappin said he met with a prominent U.S. intelligence official who told him QAnon is real.
A giant “Q” flag waves above Mappin’s King Arthur-themed castle in southwest England, drawing the attention of The Guardian, which reported the flag’s connection to the bizarre pro-Trump conspiracy theory in January. Online, Mappin frequently posts pro-Q messages to his social media accounts and boosts some of the most popular Q community creators. Over the weekend, he uploaded a video with an odd message.
“When I was in Washington, D.C., I did have the opportunity to sit next to somebody who is very, very highly respected within intelligence circles in Washington and he did indeed confirm to me that one should ignore the utterances of Q at one’s peril,” Mappin said. He also posted a similar message in a tweet and has conveyed his desire for world leaders to investigate what he says is a possible connection between 5G wireless networks and the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
It is not immediately clear when Mappin would have had his Washington meeting or who he may have met with. Right Wing Watch attempted to reach Mappin via Twitter direct message and email but did not receive a response.
— JOHN MAPPIN (@JohnMappin) March 7, 2020
What makes Mappin’s remark distinct from run-of-the-mill online QAnon chatter is Mappin’s reported connections to political power-players in the United Kingdom and America.
Mappin generated headlines in 2018 when he hosted Turning Point USA figures Charlie Kirk, its founder and president, and Candace Owens, a former communications director who currently leads the “Blexit” campaign, for the debut of Turning Point UK. The event, which Mappin emceed at the Royal Automobile Club in London, was reportedly disastrous. Owens made comments that seemed to defend Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, which she later clarified and claimed “leftist journalists” had mischaracterized.
“Give it up for John,” Kirk told the crowd, prompting applause at the end of the event. Britain-based anti-fascist nonprofit Hope Not Hate wrote that Mappin played a major role in organizing Turning Point’s overseas operation and was “earmarked as the contact point for high end donors” to the organization.
Right Wing Watch emailed a Turning Point USA spokesperson for clarification on the organization’s relation to Mappin but did not receive a response.
In 2016, Mappin announced he had awarded Trump the “Honorary Camelot Castle Knighthood” and deemed that while Trump was at his cliffside castle, he would be addressed as “Sir Donald Trump of Camelot.” Mappin mailed Trump a replica sword styled after Excalibur, the fabled sword of King Arthur. Additionally, Mappin won a six-figure sum betting that Trump would be elected president.
In 2017, Cornish & Devon Post reported that Trump’s son Eric Trump called Mappin before the president’s inauguration to thank Mappin for his support and to invite him to visit the first family in Washington. Mappin seized the opportunity and took a photo with Trump and first lady Melania Trump. The same year, he also took a photo with Trump campaign senior adviser John Pence, who is Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, at Trump’s Washington hotel. We emailed the Trump campaign for clarification on its relationship with Mappin but did not receive a response.
Since getting cozy with the Trump family, Mappin appears to have remained politically active. In 2019, British politician Nigel Farage reportedly asked Turning Point UK backers at a Ritz tea party where Mappin was present for “any help, any support, whether it’s verbal, whether it’s getting your friends involved, whether it’s giving us money, whatever it is, we need all the help we can get.” Several Brexit Party and Turning Point UK officials were reportedly present, but Mappin dismissed the event to BuzzFeed News as “simply a tea party” and described it as “more a meeting of intellectuals rather than a fundraiser.”
It also seems that he still maintains a warm relationship with Kirk and Turning Point USA. In a publicly visible Facebook post this month, Mappin congratulated Kirk on scoring an interview with right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro and wrote that he considered Kirk “among our closest friends.”
Hope Note Hate researcher Simon Murdoch told Right Wing Watch that while Mappin has appeared in proximity with prominent political figures in the U.K. and the U.S., “in each case it has been brief and without lasting consequence.” Turning Point UK, Murdoch said, managed to earn some press attention at its inception, but “it has sunk into irrelevancy, having no noticeable impact on university campuses or wider political debate in the U.K. since.” As for Mappin’s QAnon claims, Murdoch expressed strong doubts.
“Given Mr. Mappin’s track record promoting conspiracy theories and other bizarre claims, his claim that he met with members of the U.S. intelligence community, let alone a respected member, should be viewed with skepticism, even more so given the apparent theme of the conversation,” Murdoch said. “Moreover, even it if were true, his track record of inconsequential political involvement would suggest such a meeting will likely lead to little.”
Trump and his allies have received support from the Scientology community, which has been the subject of massive public scandals in recent years, particularly in Los Angeles. Last year, Scientology whistleblower Leah Remini called out the Trump administration for cozying up to Scientologists, including recording artist Joy Villa, who has appeared close to the Trump White House and presidential campaign. The Church of Scientology also threw its weight behind Trump’s criminal justice reform bill last year; ex-Scientologists said its support of the bill was a recruitment scheme.
At Mappin’s castle, the helipad is always waiting to accommodate Trump, whom Mappin has described as “the most intelligent being to have occupied the presidency in 100 years,” should he accept Mappin’s open invitation. Trump hasn’t landed there—yet.