How QAnon believers became obsessed with Tom Hanks

There are few celebrities as beloved as Tom Hanks. Between his charming social media musings and his beloved movie roles, he’s become a staple of American popular culture. Unless, of course, you’re down the rabbit hole of the QAnon conspiracy.

Despite the fact that Hanks is an extremely famous entertainer who regularly makes public appearances, many are convinced that he is either in prison or dead, executed for imaginary crimes.

Although QAnon started with an anonymous 4chan user claiming to have inside intelligence from the highest echelons of US politics (there is no evidence of this), it quickly grew into a sprawling conspiracy theory that encompasses virtually every marginal ideas. Some adherents push age-old anti-Semitic propaganda such as “blood libel,” a medieval conspiracy theory invented by Christians to demonize the Jewish people by claiming they used Christian blood in religious rituals. Others have convinced themselves that Donald Trump is waging a covert war against the global elite to usher in a new golden age. But most believe that at the root of society’s evil lies a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles bent on exploiting children.

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Hollywood stars are commonly cited in QAnon circles as members of this imaginary pedophile cabal. Among them are Hanks, Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres and Lady Gaga. QAnon’s most famous Hollywood “whistleblower”, a struggling actor named Isaac Kappy, has made the rounds of the extremist media circuit claiming that Hanks exploits children. He never provided evidence for his claims and died in 2019 after possibly intentionally falling from a bridge. Kappy’s false claims are still regularly amplified by QAnon influencers like Trump’s global attorney Lin Wood.

Social media posts also claim that Hanks was a passenger aboard sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous Lolita Express, the plane route Epstein used to ferry friends to his private island. Flight logs have been released for Epstein’s private jet trips, and Hanks is not on the passenger list.

Hanks became a particularly popular target after being quarantined in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fueled by the belief that the pandemic was just his cover, QAnons frantically speculated that Hanks had in fact been arrested for child molestation. Some went further, with many now mistakenly believing that Hanks had been dead for months or years. The “evidence” for this easily refuted claim is often a link to a July 2021 Real Raw News article titled “Military Executes Tom Hanks.”

“The Army case was built on 50 video clips and 2,000 images, sources told RRN,” the story read. “The 3-officer panel, however, found the content so disturbing that they entered a guilty verdict after watching four clips.”

The story, which has hundreds of thousands of views, indicates that Hanks was executed by lethal injection. If the story wasn’t ridiculous enough to be dismissed out of hand, a look at Real Raw News’ “about us” page includes this disclaimer: “The information on this website is for information, education and entertainment. This website contains humor, parody and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice of legal counsel. »

Despite this, QAnon adherents remain convinced that Hanks may not be alive anymore. On a popular QAnon forum, a recent post about Hanks’ new movie, “A Man Called Otto,” issuing a casting call for extras, was met with skepticism.

“I think he was executed,” wrote one user. “Are we sure it’s really him?” another commented.