Is Ron Watkins Q? – The New Republic

Posted: March 23, 2021 at 2:10 pm

But back to Watkins and the movement that, if he didnt found it directly, he at least helped incubate as the administrator of 8chan, later called 8kun, the website where Q posted most of his drops, the allusive, question-filled posts that generated feverish activity by Q researchers attempting to supply answers to his riddles. Ron and his father, Jim, who was based in the Philippines, ran 8chan at a loss, but the sites popularity became a source of pride and power for them. (They made up the losses via other businesses, like an organic caf and a pig farm where Jim Watkins jokes he disposes of his enemies corpses. He says this with just enough mania in his eye to make one wonder if its true.)

As the film methodically documents, 8chan/8kun is only the latest in a long line of shit-posting message boards that pride themselves on an ethic of trolling, anonymity, edgelord-ism (posting extreme, shocking material to provoke and show how far one will go), and practically murderous contempt for women and minorities. You could trace this dark cultural strand through notorious sites and internet movements like Something Awful, 4chan, Gamergate, and Reddit. Its an integral part of todays internet harassment campaigns.

Besides being the home of Qs posts, 8chan also distinguished itself as the site where the perpetrator of the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, posted his livestream (to much excitement from the boards other posters). Thats what ultimately pushed Fredrick Brennan, the sites founder and an employee of Jim and Ron Watkins, to cut bait. Positioned next to the mysterious, perhaps sociopathic Watkins family, Brennan is the films most engaging and sympathetic character. Disabled by brittle bone disease and confined to a wheelchair, Brennan accepted an offer from the Watkinses to move to the Philippines, where he would work for them and have his needs provided for. Needless to say, the whole arrangement goes south, provoking legal threats and Brennans semi-clandestine flight from the country, back to the United States. (Today, Brennan remains a potent critic, mostly on Twitter, of the Watkinses and chan culture.)

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Is Ron Watkins Q? - The New Republic

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