Bet you didn’t know that Tom Hanks’ announced coronavirus diagnosis was a secret sign that he’s been arrested as part of a global pedophilia ring. And that NBA owners closed up shop for the same reason. Don’t believe me? Just ask a “Q person.”
The circumstances around the global spread of the coronavirus are practically scripted for generating conspiracy theories: a mysterious illness, sudden waves of deaths, government suppression of information and claims of a politically fueled hoax, and gradually intensifying panic. So naturally, the nutcases of the far right have concocted several different cauldrons of toxic conspiracy stew around the growing health crisis—and nowhere is this more acutely the case than in the bizarre Trump-loving world of “QAnon” conspiracy theorists.
While Trump himself for awhile pitched the increasingly risible claim that the looming pandemic was actually a “hoax” promulgated by Democrats, he has dropped such rhetoric as the response to the pandemic has mounted in intensity, along with its death toll. However, the fanatical Trump fans who comprise the alternative universe of the QAnon faction actually believe the whole scenario is part of Trump’s well-laid plan to arrest a broad slate of Democrats for pedophilia.
They call it “The Storm,” which is their semi-apocalyptic term for what they believe has secretly been Trump’s endgame: The eventual roundup and arrest of a broad array of Democratic and media figures for their secret involvement in a global pedophilia ring that trades in sexually abused children and their murders, of which the “Pizzagate” scandal was just the tip of the iceberg.
In QAnoners’ alternative dimension, a number of well-known Hollywood stars are key players in this conspiracy and will similarly be swept up in the arrests (and in some tellings, outright executions), nearly all of them liberals or prominent Trump critics. One of the best-known names on that list is beloved film star Tom Hanks.
So when Hanks announced on social media that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had contracted coronavirus while working in Australia, the Q brigade—which has lately been growing desperate for some kind of sign that the promised arrests are under way—went ballistic.
As journalist Travis View observed on Twitter, the coronavirus story already was being framed in the QAnon community as a “cover story” for “The Storm,” and that if a public figure dies from COVID-19, “then that will just be a cover story for their suicide.” One such tweet speculated: “How might you exterminate a group of satanic pedophiles covertly? What is a cover story?” Another answered: “Watch for celebrities, public figures and others to ‘die’ from coronavirus. Possible suicides to avoid what’s coming …”
Some QAnoners in fact have eagerly embraced the pandemic and its spread, as @sadclownesq notes, as “the coming Storm of Trump’s retribution on the evil deep state-Hollywood Cabal.” Some compared the COVID-19 breakout map to the QAnoners’ concocted “Indictment Count,” the charges supposedly prepared against leading liberal politicians and media figures around the country. Another enthused: “Enjoy the show! We are living in the largest military operation in USA history and CORONAVIRUS IS THE SHOW!”
The replies to Hanks’ social media announcement of his diagnosis were predictably from another dimension: “Horseshit. You’re done, pedo,” was a typical retort. “Is Tom Hanks using #Coronavirus diagnosis to SUICIDE himself ahead of indictments or prepping for Death Sentence verdict in his Military Tribunal?” asked another.
“Do you see what’s going on?” tweeted one. “Timing. Right after @potus speech all the sudden Tom Hanks and wife have coronavirus, NBA player has it and NBA announces suspending rest of season. #qanon”
“So far tonight, we know that Tom Hanks, Ellen Degeneres, NBA players/team owners, and many more will never traffic another human being!” concluded another.
One prominent QAnon account—YouTuber Jordan Sather, who has over 120,000 followers on Twitter—chose the coronavirus crisis as a reason to publicly come out as an anti-Semite. “What is the real virus plaguing our world?” he tweeted, then answered with a not-very cryptic “(((Them.)))” The three parentheses have become an online white-nationalist signal indicating the subject contained within them are Jewish. One of Sather’s followers answered with a crude caricature of a Jew being shot in the head.
Online fascists, meanwhile, have reacted to the pandemic with predictable “black-pilled” glee, reflecting the “accelerationism” most have adopted that eagerly encourages the destruction of human civilization as a nihilistic hope. Andrew Anglin, editor of the neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer, has been especially delighted that the NBA (which he detests because it is dominated by black players) has suspended its season. He posted: “Coronavirus is truly a gift.”