60 minutes interview with Ray Epps does little to deter conspiracy theories

@60Minutes/Twitter

‘Why is there so much video of him?’: Ray Epps interview prompts entirely new Jan. 6 conspiracy

Epps’ interview has only amplified claims from the far-right that the FBI orchestrated the Capitol riot.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

An interview aired Sunday between 60 Minutes and Ray Epps, the man who supporters of former President Donald Trump believe orchestrated the Capitol riot on behalf of the FBI, has done little to deter conspiracy theories surrounding Jan. 6.

A former member of the Oath Keepers militia and Trump supporter, Epps became the target of far-right conspiracy theories after numerous videos showed him suggesting that conservatives should enter the Capitol building to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Epps, who did not enter the Capitol himself or engage in violence, would later be placed on a public bulletin of individuals that the FBI was seeking to identify. Upon learning of the FBI’s interest, Epps says he immediately contacted the bureau to confirm his identity and set up an interview.

The decision by Epps to contact the FBI led to his removal from the public bulletin. But the removal was seen by conspiracy theorists as proof that Epps had actually been working with the FBI all along in order to instigate the failed insurrection.

The conspiracy theory received a major boost soon after when an article from the far-right blog Revolver News argued that Epps was almost certainly being backed by federal agents, despite no evidence being provided to support the claim. The allegations would then make their way to Fox News host Tucker Carlson and eventually Trump himself.

Epps is just one of countless figures that conservatives have attempted to blame for their own actions on Jan. 6. Everything from alleged “antifa” infiltrators to the FBI itself has been accused of prompting the riot.

Attempting to offer his side of the story, Epps spoke to 60 Minutes and explained how he ultimately decided not to enter the Capitol after seeing his fellow Trump supporters begin acting violently. Yet the replies to 60 Minutes interview on Twitter was overwhelmed by conspiracy theorists, unwilling to let go of their unsupported belief.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who Epps points to as one of the top promoters of the election fraud lie in his interview, responded by launching even more conspiracy theories.

“There are people rotting in jail and still being arrested daily, but Ray Epps is not in jail,” she tweeted. “I would also like to know who videoed Ray Epps all day on J6? Why is there so much video of him specifically?”

The popular far-right Twitter user known as Catturd likewise joined in by claiming that progressives’ purported love for Epps was further proof of the conspiracy theory.

“The Left hates all January 6ers and want them in prison for life – except one,” he wrote. “They somehow miraculously absolutely love Ray Epps. Gee – I wonder why?”

Podcaster Tim Pool chimed in as well, arguing that Epps would have sued for defamation had the conspiracy theories about him actually been false.

“Why hasnt ray epps sued anyone for defamation?” Pool asked. “I’m sure he’d have no problem with discovery right?”

In response to inquiries from 60 Minutes, the FBI stated that “Ray Epps has never been an FBI source or an FBI employee.” However, the FBI’s statement, Epp’s testimony, and the total lack of actual evidence tying the former Trump supporter to the federal government is unlikely to ever persuade conspiracy theorists.

In the end, the claims surrounding Epps are no different than the dozens of other conspiracy theories generated in the wake of Jan. 6. And Trump supporters will continue to blame anyone and everyone—so long as it isn’t themselves.

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