Conspiracy theorists have released a new film that has been viewed almost 5 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube on April 10. The 77-minute “documentary” is an homage to the founding tenets of the “Pizzagate” and QAnon conspiracy theories, presented with professional production quality and storytelling.
“Out of Shadows” sends viewers down a red-pill rabbit hole with former stuntman and actor Mike Smith, who begins the film by recounting a physical therapist who told him to investigate satanic child sex abuse. As Smith becomes convinced of the evil of the occult and its presence around him in Hollywood, he descends ever deeper into conspiracy theories for the rest of the film, convinced that major media outlets are covering up satanic rituals and child sex abuse. Claims that elite figures in the media, business, Hollywood, and politics are engaging in such evil acts are central to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Smith spends a portion of the film alleging that major entertainment companies are intentionally broadcasting occult symbols and “programming” Americans’ thoughts and behaviors with their content. The film’s producers turn to former stuntman Brad Martin, former CIA officer turned right-wing conspiracy theorist Kevin Shipp, and QAnon and Pizzagate-obsessed “journalist” Liz Crokin to support Smith’s claims.
The film begins in some truth but quickly devolves into conspiracy theories. The beginning of the film references true, often-sordid operations that the United States government has engaged in, such as the CIA project “MK Ultra,” which experimented with psychedelic drugs for mind control. The film builds upon such operations to argue the veracity of modern conspiracy theories such as “Pizzagate,” which posits that high-rank Democratic officials were operating a child sex trafficking right out of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant. The conspiracy theory led a gunman to enter the establishment and fire a rifle in 2016.
The latter portion of the documentary features Crokin, who is spotlighted as a legitimate journalist who helped Smith come to terms with the disturbing things he had become convinced of. Smith said that Crokin was “the only person who was talking about this stuff” but that the mainstream media had declared Crokin “completely out of her mind.” Crokin’s portion of the film is titled “Pizzagate: Fact or Fiction?”
“Not only is the mainstream media complicit—I would argue that they’re accessories in the crimes against children,” Crokin said in the film, accusing the press of “redefining” what the Pizzagate conspiracy theory was to make it sound less believable.
“Liz Crokin put herself so far out in front that she was mocked. She was laughed at. She was called crazy. Well, let me ask you a question for all those people that did that to Liz: Does she seem so crazy now?” Smith asks.
Just last month, Crokin claimed that celebrities were catching the COVID-19 coronavirus from a tainted “adrenochrome supply,” which Corkin says is “extracted from the pituitary gland of tortured children.” She also claimed that coronavirus was really just a cover for the Trump administration to make mass arrests long promised by Qanon conspiracy theorists (and which still have yet to materialize).
During one part of the film, Smith reveals himself to be operating a nameless Twitter account that currently has a QAnon hashtag in its bio and is littered with pro-QAnon content. Part of Smith’s promotion strategy for the film has included appearing on programs hosted by top QAnon-content creators, such as the user “intheMatrixxx.”
Other viral conspiracy theory videos online pale in comparison to the explosive reach of “Out of Shadows,” which is particularly perplexing given the film’s lack of mass-marketing and advertising. It is also unclear how the film was funded. The description for the film states that it was “the result of two years of blood, sweat, and tears by a team of woke professionals” and was “independently funded and produced.”