Tucker Carlson(l), January 6th Shaman(r)

Johnny Silvercloud/Shutterstock Tucker Carlson/Youtube (Licensed)

‘Is he actually crazy?’: The right-wing is on a mission to rehabilitate the QAnon Shaman’s reputation

'He certainly doesn’t seem dangerously crazy.'


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Mar 13, 2024   Updated on Mar 13, 2024, 10:25 am CDT

Some of the biggest names on the far-right are attempting to rehabilitate the public’s perception of Jacob Chansley, the man better known as the QAnon Shaman.

In an interview released to X on Tuesday, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson pushed back on what he claimed was a false portrayal of Chansley perpetuated by the media.

“They told us Jake Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, was a dangerous lunatic who deserved to be sent to prison, if not shot to death,” Tucker said. “Many believed it. But is he actually crazy? Judge for yourself.”

Chansley, recognizable due to his fur headdress with horns, rose to fame as one of the leading figures in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Chansley and his fellow rioters attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election after falling prey to conspiracy theories that alleged former President Donald Trump had been cheated out of victory.

The QAnon Shaman was subsequently convicted on charges of obstructing an official proceeding in November 2021 and sentenced to more than three years in prison. Chansley got transferred to a halfway house a little over a year later for three months before being released early in May 2023.

Attempts to water down Chansley’s history, which includes spreading the QAnon conspiracy theory at rallies across Arizona, appear to be linked to the overall attempts on the right to downplay the Capitol riot.

Despite their attempts, the right is unable to keep its claims regarding Jan. 6 from contradicting one another. They simultaneously describe those sentenced for the riot as political prisoners while simultaneously suggesting that all those engaged in wrongdoing were actually secretly working for the federal government.

Other notable figures, including billionaire Elon Musk, quickly picked up Carlson’s talking points regarding Chansley.

“He certainly doesn’t seem dangerously crazy,” Musk said of Chansley.

The clip from Carlson received over 6.4 million views, bringing even further attention to Chansley and the attempts to paint him as anything but a radicalized conspiracy theorist.

But not everyone is buying into the effort. Numerous accounts on X decried Carlson’s depiction of Chansley and Jan. 6.

“The most powerful pundits on the right spend an inordinate amount of time trying to redeem an irredeemable moment,” one X user wrote.

“Amazing performance,” another added. “Tucker introduces Jacob Chansley by saying he ‘wound up in the Capitol,’ as if Chansley had been teleported there, rather than being part of the wave of rioters that broke into the Capitol. And he then, bizarrely, says to Chansley, ‘You did nothing wrong.'”

The QAnon Shaman isn’t letting the free publicity go to waste. Earlier this year, Chansley expressed his desire to return to the Capitol. Only this time, he wants to do so as an elected congressman. While convicted felons can hold elected office, given his denunciation of Trump following his arrest, it remains unclear who exactly Chansley would attract in terms of voters.

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*First Published: Mar 13, 2024, 10:24 am CDT