Report: Father Of Man Alleged To Be “Q” Profited From Child Porn Web Domains

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Most major researchers of the QAnon conspiracy theory have speculated that the identity of Q is likely Ron Watkins, “the longtime administrator of the message board 8kun, the conspiratorial movement’s online home,” The Washington Post reported this week.

That suspicion was only furthered by Watkins’ comment in a recent documentary about the conspiracy theory:

Most major QAnon researchers have long speculated that Watkins had written many of the false and cryptic posts alleging that former president Donald Trump was waging war against an elite international cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Watkins has long denied his involvement, saying he was merely a neutral backroom operator of the site and never a participant.

But in the Sunday finale for the HBO series “Q: Into the Storm,” filmmaker Cullen Hoback points to what he argues is a key piece of evidence that Watkins had lied about his role in the more than 4,000 messages Q had posted since 2017.

In a final scene, after Watkins talked about how he had shared baseless claims about voter fraud after Trump’s loss in the 2020 elections, he told Hoback: “It was basically three years of intelligence training, teaching normies how to do intelligence work. It was basically what I was doing anonymously before, but never as Q.”

Watkins has insisted he is not Q, The Post noted.

But Mother Jones picked up on a more disturbing element of the QAnon phenomenon, as well as Hoback’s documentary about it — one regarding Watkins’ father, Jim Watkins.

The documentary is comprehensive and does flip a lot of stones. Hoback leverages sustained access to key players in the QAnon movement to tell a story about one of the most consequential disinformation operations of the Trump era. He does, however, pass on overturning one rather large stone: chief Q-enabler Jim Watkins’s history of running an internet company that has profited off child porn themes. The omission deprives HBO’s audience of key information on Watkins’s past, especially given his prominent role in movement seeking vengeance against a supposed cabal of elite liberal pedophiles.

In the second episode of the documentary series, Hoback raises this point briefly, asking prominent Q adherents how they feel about 8chan’s sordid reputation and historic ties to child sexual abuse material. Each of them express deep discomfort with the site’s general fare. One, Liz Crokin, says she wasn’t aware about 8chan’s ties to child pornography, calling it “troublesome.”

At another point, Hoback asks Watkins about his long-running connections to pornography generally and how he feels about having been called “the king of porn.” Hoback also focuses on Ron Watkins, Jim’s son and a figure of his own right in Q world, and notes the younger Watkins’s interest in pornography and brothels. “If you’re thinking these guys seem to be into porn, like more than the normal amount, you would be right,” Hoback narrates over a shot capturing Ron loading a sexualized anime doll into a car and driving away, as pornography plays on a dashboard monitor. “But Ron takes it to another level.”

Mother Jones dug more deeply into the child-porn related web domains related to Jim Watkins last year, which Hoback also noted in his documentary — though Mother Jones said it was an unfair representation of its investigation.

On October 29, 2020, Mother Jones published an investigation revealing that Watkins’s web company had hosted scores of domains featuring child sex abuse material themes in the past. Here’s what we reported:

The domains’ names include terms such as “preteen,” “schoolgirl,” and “child” alongside graphic terms for genitalia and words like “rape” and “love.” It’s unclear what, if anything, is currently being served at the domains. However, an analysis of metadata collected years ago from one by archive.org shows dozens of filenames and links containing highly suggestive terms, including “xxxpreteen,” “children,” and sexual references to girls aged 12 to 15. 

Hoback addresses this in the documentary but in a way that misrepresents our findings and minimizes the extent of Watkins’s involvement with these sites. He suggests the story was somehow undermined by subsequent reports. It hasn’t been.

Read the full report.

Image credit: Screengrab / The Goldwater / YouTube

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