Jim Watkins, the owner of the 8kun imageboard where QAnon saw its rise, alleged last year that billionaire George Soros was paying major media outlets to promote the conspiracy theory.
During sworn testimony before the Jan. 6 committee last June, Watkins attempted to frame QAnon as a conspiracy theory that derived not from 8kun but from Soros and left-leaning publications.
Citing Media Matters specifically, a nonprofit left-leaning media watchdog, Watkins claimed in a bizarre statement that Soros paid sites such as the Daily Beast and NBC to push the story.
“He is funding QAnon. It’s—you can—you can—you can go to—I believe it’s Open—Open Society I believe is the name of the company that he owns that funds it,” he said. “And he funds it, and then he pays companies like the Daily Beast and Mother Jones and NBC. And if they post his paragraph in their story, they get paid.”
QAnon is the conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump was waging a secret war against the deep state and a secret poster named Q was illuminating that to the public.
The information comes from Watkins’ interview with the Jan. 6 Committee, which has been investigating the 2021 attack on the Capitol and the involvement of former President Donald Trump and right-wing conspiracy theorists.
Watkins, as well as his son Ron, have long been accused of being the voices behind QAnon, which Watkins denied to the committee, saying he did not know who the Q poster was.
When asked if he was aware of QAnon, Watkins immediately blamed the media and claimed 8kun has no involvement.
“QAnon is manufactured by the left-wing media, and it’s probably put out mostly by a company called Media Matters … It’s manufactured. It’s not anything to do with my website.”
He continued to say that Soros, a common right-wing boogeyman, was behind it.
“If I understand it, it’s generated and perpetuated by a company called Media Matters … Which is, I believe, funded by a name named George Soros.”
Watkins also denied that the messageboard on 8kun where QAnon posted, Q Research, had anything to do with the conspiracy theory.
“It’s a place where they talk about the current world affairs, and they try to research and find the meaning behind things and why they oftentimes post propaganda and how to find their way through propaganda,” he said.
Watkins also claimed that while he’d been approached by people who claimed to be behind QAnon, he was not aware of having any contact with the person professing to be Q.