Here is a run-down of celebrities and public figures that have been falsely drawn into the right wing conspiracy theory.
In 2018, A-list actor, Tom Hanks was targeted by the group through YouTube where content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory was briefly promoted to the top of the search results when users searched the actor’s name.
Videos then falsely accused Hanks of being a paedophile, as NBC News reporter Ben Collins first pointed out.
Also in 2020, a meme was shared thousands of times on Facebook that falsely alleged Hanks was wearing an ankle monitor as he was arrested in Australia – again, not true.
According to Reuters, the claim read: “Look who has a new ankle bracelet! Tom Hanks. Some of you don’t know it but Mr. Hanks was arrested in Australia for pedophilia. He went on national TV to say he had COVID-19 and he was quarantine himself. Not true. He was in custody for a time then house arrest is in his hotel. Now, he’s a flight risk.”
US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres found herself in the middle of an QAnon conspiracy that falsely accused her of being under house arrest for child sex trafficking.
A photograph of DeGeneres was taken from a clip of the Ellen Show, where she makes a video call to actress Courteney Cox. The photograph in the claim captures the moment at around the 3:05 minute mark.
Her sweatpants are ruffled but there is no sign of an ankle monitor.
Similarly, another popular US talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, was targeted and accused last year of being under house arrest for the same reasons as DeGeneres.
The photograph of Winfrey was taken from a clip of her cooking spaghetti carbonara. But throughout the video, there is no clear visual of an ankle monitor.
Winfrey directly responded to the untrue claims in a tweet.
The former US Secretary of State and opponent to Trump in 2016 election unsurprisingly has also been at the centre of QAnon conspiracies.
Last year, articles and posts shared on social media which claimed that Clinton has been arrested and flown to Guantanamo Bay detention camp where she will face a military tribunal.
This was obviously untrue since she appeared on camera at International Women’s Day events the day after her alleged arrest and transfer as she tweeted about the event too.
More recently, in March 2021, Clinton was at the centre of another conspiracy that incorrectly claimed she been arrested by the Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land Teams), a special operations force.
It was alleged that the arrest took place on the night of March 2nd and was orchestrated by former President Donald Trump.
She was apparently arrested on charges of “treason, destruction of government property, and aiding and abetting the enemy,” and that documents showed she was implicated “in plots to assassinate Republican legislators across the country.”
These claims are factually untrue.
On January 9 2021, an article circulated on social media allegedly reports that Pope Francis was “arrested.”
The claim is not true because a day after the supposed “arrest”, Pope Francis led the Angelus prayer from the Library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.
Claiming a person has died is conspiracy theory 101 and that’s exactly what QAnon did when they spread false videos saying that Pope Francis is dead in April this year.
According to Reuters, the text on the posts read: “Q 100% TRUTH! LIN WOOD DESTROYS DEEP STATE CABAL! PANIC IN DC POPE FRANCIS DEAD! VATICAN GOLD GONE!”
The Pope was photographed on April 25 and led a prayer on the same day too, so clearly he didn’t die.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Following her death on September 18 2020, a quote attributed to the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg resurfaced, but the grounds of the attribution are baseless.
The posts in question, which was falsely portrayed as a post from Facebook aiming to combat misinformation, was “Pedophilia is good for the children” – something Bader Ginsburg did not say.
Other posts and comments also mention child trafficking and present Bader Ginsburg as seeking to normalize pedophilia.
These claims are not true.
Even Queen Elizabeth has been caught up in QAnon’s antics.
A Trump supporter named Buddy Hall owns and operates the bus which is described on its GoFundMe page as an “unofficial campaign tour bus to support the 2020 reelection of President Trump”.
Of course, the image is edited and the Queen remains a politically neutral figure.
As the internet is an endless wildfire for conspiracy theories, we can only imagine there will be more celebrities targeted in the future.