He Was Partners With ‘QAnon.’ Now He Wants Them Arrested.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

He founded the noxious online forum that gave QAnon life. And now, he thinks “Q” should be arrested and tried.

In Q: Into the Storm, HBO’s new six-part documentary series on QAnon, the filmmakers make their case that father-son duo Jim and Ron Watkins are the true culprits behind “Q.” In a new interview with The Daily Beast, the breakout star of the doc dishes on the Watkins’ “fascist” ramblings (including expressing sympathy with Spanish conquerors who mutilated indigenous populations), why he thinks the Watkins should be prosecuted, and the precise moment he discovered that his former cohorts could be singlehandedly duping the world with a deranged conspiracy theory.

In this special bonus episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast, New Abnormal host Molly Jong-Fast joins Fever Dreams producer Jesse Cannon and co-host Will Sommer to interview Fredrick Brennan, the star of the HBO documentary. Brennan, founder of the website 8chan, which would become a breeding ground for QAnon, has since become an outspoken opponent of the website’s current owner, Jim Watkins, and his son Ron.

Brennan argues that Ron and Jim should be arrested for allegedly posing as the mysterious “Q,” likening them to scam artists.

“Essentially, what QAnon was—what the Q poster was doing—was impersonating a federal agent,” Brennan said. “And the Watkins have received material gain for that, in terms of their site getting bigger, them being featured in mass media, he had a super PAC… that received donations. He received ads that he would not have received otherwise.”

Brennan added, “I think that this case is too important and that the courts should be left to decide whether or not what they did was impersonation of a federal agent… We can’t keep looking at the internet and being like, ‘Oh, well, it happened online.’”

Brennan elaborates on the very moment it dawned on him that his 8chan successors could actually be behind the far-reaching and destructive pro-Trump hoax.

“When 8chan came back online, it was extremely unstable,” he recounted. “I was trying to post on it to see if it worked. And it was not working at all for me, but somehow, ‘Q’ was posting. And that was kind of the moment for me that sealed the deal… If they had not already been controlling it before, they were controlling it now.”

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Brennan also describes why he believes the Watkins family wants to do far more than just shitpost—that they would love to help bring about a “fascist” state.

One day at the office, according to Brennan, Jim Watkins screamed “at the top of his lungs, essentially, at his Filipino employees that are kind of gathered there that they’re so dumb and that he got this new office for them and these new air conditioners, but they don’t know how to take care of anything… and that he understands why during the Spanish era, the Spanish conquistadors used to cut off the arms of Filipinos to get them to behave and to listen. So you know, obviously there’s extreme racism from the both of them.”

Listen to Fever Dreams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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