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[00:00:00]

Funen could potentially become more dangerous if Trump loses, because these are people who have been convinced that Trump is going to solve all their problems when that doesn't happen. I think they're going to go like, holy smokes. You know, maybe I have to take action myself.

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Welcome to Deconstructed, I'm Ryan Grim, D.C. bureau chief for The Intercept, filling in this week for many at the DNC, Democrats laid out the choice in the upcoming election as one between light and darkness. This week at the RNC, Republicans continued with that theme, promising renewed American greatness with the re-election of Donald Trump and warning of a nightmare of darkness.

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If the country falls into the hands of Joe Biden, he is the destroyer of America's jobs and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness.

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Behind the carefully crafted scenes, though, a different story has been playing out among the Republican base. A growing number of Republican voters and even some politicians have gone completely nuts.

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They believe that Trump will basically arrest all of his foes, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and either ship them to Guantanamo Bay or just execute them outright.

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That's my first guest today, Daily Beast politics reporter Wil Summer, who has been reporting for the last few years on the bizarre and increasingly popular conspiracy theory known as Kuhnen. After that, we'll check in with int. politics reporter Aida Chavez, who's noticed her own friends and acquaintances drifting toward Cuba in recent months. But first, we're going to go back in time a bit because, as it turns out, panics about satanic child abuse are not a new phenomenon in America.

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So today on the show, what is Kuhnen? Where did it come from? And is it the future of the Republican Party?

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In the fall of nineteen nine, one of the nation's most widely read magazines, Woman's World, delivered a shocking expose to more than two million doorsteps around the country. A few months later, a best selling book called War on the White Slave Trade became a national phenomenon. It sparked a moral panic that would reshape the country.

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White parents around the country were warned that their girls were being snatched off the street and sold into sex slavery. The book, which was the collective work of Chicago clergy and prosecutors, warned that ice cream parlors of the city and fruit stores combined, largely run by foreigners, are the places where scores of girls have taken their first step downward.

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The result, the authors said, was the blackest slavery that has ever sustained the human race. The conspiracy was vast, and for the safety and purity of womanhood, federal laws were needed. The panic set off by that book had been building for a decade or more. In 1881, the YWCA in New York started offering typing classes to women. Pretty soon there were at least sixty thousand women working as typists. That number kept climbing the typewriter and the income that came with it started to affect the role of women in economic and social life.

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As you can imagine, not everyone was thrilled with that development. For some, the simple sight of women walking alone in the city was a shocking affront. Women unaccompanied by men going to dance halls and ice cream parlors was simply beyond the pale. And most shocking of all, some of these newly liberated white women were choosing to date black men.

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Trafficking exposes like the war on the white slave trade provided the public with the perfect outlet for their fear and rage whipped into a frenzy, they demanded that the government save the children and the book's authors helped write and pass the White Slave Traffic Act of nineteen ten, better known today as the Man Act. It banned the transportation of any girl or woman across state lines for any quote unquote, immoral purpose to enforce the man act. The federal government needed cops.

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Two years earlier, Teddy Roosevelt had deputized a few dozen former Secret Service officers as special agents of the Department of Justice. Those agents were assigned the task of enforcing the White Slave Traffic Act, and they decided to call themselves the Bureau of Investigation. Within two years, there were more than three hundred special agents and as many support staff. Though no law ever officially authorized their existence, they're now known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Man Act passed on June twenty fifth, nineteen, ten, nine days later, on July 4th, Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, fought former champion James Jeffries, dubbed the Great White Hope.

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Johnson was a racial lightning rod reviled by many whites for dating white women, the highest crime of the Jim Crow era, and for unapologetically flaunting the wealth his boxing had brought him. He showed no interest in knowing his place. Johnson knocked Jeffries out and whites around the country rioted. The real purpose of the Man Act became clear pretty quickly. Federal agents arrested Jack Johnson under the new law for crossing state lines with his white girlfriend, who would soon be his wife.

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He eventually fled to Europe, not returning until nineteen twenty when he was forced to serve his prison term. The next wave of women's liberation came in the 1970s, and again, it produced a panic, the so-called satanic panic of the 1980s as Americans became convinced that satanic daycare centers were turning children into sex slaves. The message was clear their mothers should have stayed at home. Then in twenty sixteen, with Hillary Clinton seemingly on her way to the White House.

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The panic surged back. This time, children were being trafficked, not out of an ice cream parlor, but a pizza parlor comet ping pong in Washington, D.C. and the conspiracy involved people at the highest levels of government. When Trump took office, the theory when he would expose and smash this conspiracy and save the children. Twenty eighteen, the theory was given legs when the extremist anti-abortion group Operation Rescue claimed falsely it had damning new evidence about the evil deeds of Planned Parenthood the next year.

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Jeffrey Epstein at the center of a real life, a child sex trafficking ring was arrested and then died mysteriously. It was up to an anonymous government insider or maybe a group of them known as Q to end this evil. It was his followers job to help prepare the country for this Trump led counterrevolution.

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The good guys with control over the NSA began the Q Intelligence Dissemination Program to invoke an online grassroots movement that came to be called the Great Awakening.

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This is Kuhnen, a movement that is now electing members of Congress and threatening to infect the entire Republican Party. And it got its biggest boost yet when Trump was asked about it last week.

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Well, I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.

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This week at the RNC, Republicans continued their dance, exploiting the energy of Kuhnen, but never explicitly embracing it. Today, we're going to explore this phenomenon because as history shows, conspiracy theories don't have to be true to change the world.

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My guest today is a politics reporter at The Daily Beast. Well, Summer has spent the last few years doing a deep journalistic dive into the world of right wing conspiracy theories. And he joins me now. Well, Summer, thank you so much for joining Deconstructed. Hey, thanks for having me. It's great to talk to you.

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Your reporting that you've done on Kuhnen is endlessly fascinating. And I wanted to get from you your take on where does this come from.

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Sure. So Kuhnen really sort of draws on all sorts of sources that we have in our culture and really just going back decades or even centuries. There's anti Semitic tropes. There's all these conspiracy theories, everything from the JFK assassination to 9/11, truth to pizza. So really, Kuhnen, I mean, the genius of it is it draws on so many things and it really sort of offers something for everybody.

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So who is. Q Yes. Q This is sort of a big mystery about who Q is. We don't know if it's a person, if it's a man or a woman, if it's a bunch of people. We don't know if it's been the same group of people and control the whole time or if it's basically we have no idea. I mean. Q And unbelievers think that it's someone in the Trump administration who's sort of offering them clues. That's obviously fake, but we don't really know who it is for people who don't know kind of the driving idea behind.

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Q Like what is their kind of central claim and mission?

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Sure. So Kunhardt is huge and there's a lot going on. But the way to sum it up is that the world has been controlled by a satanic cabal of pedophile cannibals or as they call them, Peshawar's.

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I believe that there is a move to wipe the world clean of pedophiles, paddleboards Satan worshippers.

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These are prominent people in banking in Hollywood, in the Democratic Party.

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The criminals I'm referring to are famous politicians, actors, singers, CEOs and celebrities.

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People who have earned our trust, respect and admiration in this cabal is sort of responsible for all the evil in the world of problems we have as societies. And that's how you get back to JFK assassination and all of that.

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Right. And so, like JFK, the thing was he was about to take down the cabal, so they got him. Gotcha. And so then every president since then has been what they call a slave president, working for the cabal until Donald Trump. And so Trump comes in because they're telling the military is like, we got to get rid of this cabal. And so they hired to basically recruit Trump to run for president to bring down these satanic pedophiles.

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Donald J.

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Trump, president of the United States of America. He's not only taking on the restoration of our country, but the world in general.

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And so the big kind of moment Kuhnen believers are focused on is called the storm. And this is when they believe that the day they think Trump will basically arrest all of his foes, like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton really just like thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people across the country.

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These people are going to face prosecution. They're going to face serious jail time, and some of them will face the death penalty. There is no other way forward.

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And why hasn't the storm happened yet? I think it's because Kunhardt is fake, but it's really I mean, Kuhnen people tell themselves it's you know, it's like it's the dang deep state that is. This is such a significant problem that it's just really hard to outrun or to uproot. And so they could nonbeliever's see themselves as sort of these these sort of evangelists who are telling the world about what's going to happen so that when the storm does happen, everyone's like, oh, yeah, you know?

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Well, you know, they did say that about Tom Hanks and Oprah.

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And so the role of a believer here is not just to be an observer, but what exactly like Besi. So they need to evangelize, they need to grow the movement so that the ground is prepped for Trump's counterrevolution. Is that right?

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Yeah, exactly. So that's really the idea behind why CU is putting out these clues is that the CU team, the the people in the Trump administration are doing this whole thing, decided that, you know, if we just arrested everyone on Inauguration Day twenty seventeen, there would have been this civil war because no one would get the deal. And so CU is going to put out these signals and then people who get into CU are part of this thing called the Great Awakening.

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And so they're going to try to win over their friends or family into into this whole thing.

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And so we talked to earlier in this show about the panic around the white, what they called white slavery back in the early part of the 20th century. I know you're a little bit familiar with that. Do you see any parallels between what happened then and what's going on now?

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Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is a situation where a prosecutor in Chicago wrote this book about these kind of fantastical claims of these kind of slavery rings, kidnapping people into sexual slavery across the country. And this was a big hit. And then it went to went on to inspire some real life loss.

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So what role does Jeffrey Epstein play in Kuhnen? Epstein right now is kind of a major gateway to Kuhnen. Q And cute on believer's. We're talking about I've seen before his most recent arrest, but obviously a lot of that information was already public. So that doesn't really mean Kieu was operating on inside info or something. But but since Epsilon's arrests and his death and obviously Glenn Maxwells arrest as well, those are kind of high profile incidents of seemingly genuine sex trafficking rings, potentially involving very elite, powerful people.

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And so while that's not really what Kuhnen was about, it's offered it sort of served as a way to get that stuff in the headlines and also to sort of be a low cost way for Kuhnen people to say to, let's say, an average average person. They can say, well, don't you think this obscene stuff was bad? And they say, you know, oh, yeah, sure, absolutely. You know, understandably. And then that sort of is how you get pulled in.

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How have you gotten so big? You know, the mainstream media basically never touches Kuhnen. Even Fox News, I don't think goes into them very much. But correct me if I'm wrong about that. Jesse Waters has been a big kuhnen proponent at times, actually.

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How how so what's his what's his line? How does he promote Kuis without sounding like a complete nutjob? Yeah.

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So he says, like, you know. Q You know, that you say what you want about them, but they've been right about a lot of stuff.

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OK, and like the Eppstein thing would be like one of the things they were right about is that that where he's going with.

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So that gets attributed to Takuan on people a lot of the times the seen stuff or or just kind of vaguely this sense that like malevolent forces are afoot, are afoot in the world.

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What about the social media platforms? How how do they handle them in the beginning and how are they how are they handling them now? Is there something in the way that kind of Facebook brings people together that supercharged this?

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Yeah, I mean, I think social media has played a massive role here. And I think, unfortunately, the vast majority of the platforms have been really slow to act on this. The way Kuhnen works is it's such an outlandish system of beliefs. I mean, you're talking about, you know, Barack Obama drinking children's blood so that, you know, I think in a pre Internet world, you know, these people would have been confined to like maybe some zeins, some mailing lists.

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You know, obviously the John Birch Society is sort of a precursor to this. But I think these people basically would have struggled to find validation for their beliefs because you might have one person in one town or one neighborhood who would believe this, and they wouldn't be able to connect with people who would say, no, you're not crazy. It's the people who don't see this who are crazy. But online, these people can find each other and kind of spin off each other.

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You know, often what happens is people will become nonbelievers, become alienated from their families. And then they're like, well, but that's OK, because Cunard's my new family, like me and all the detectives online. So they're really able to sort of reinforce one another.

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So what is Save the Children? And is this a new advent, kind of a new strain of Kuhnen that we're seeing in the last weeks or months?

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Yeah, so the pandemic and has kind of kicked off a new stage of Kuhnen we're seeing Tuen on right now move beyond the classic Kuhnen type, which is sort of a boomer, white, probably evangelical Christian and Trump supporter. But the pandemic has really shot up interest. Interesting. Kunhardt, more broadly and in the latest iteration of this is Save the Save the Children or the Save Our Children hashtags. And Save the Children is a legitimate anti child trafficking organization.

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But its name has been hijacked by on people who kind of gussy up their beliefs about children being. In this kind of big like, don't you think child abuse or child sexual abuse is bad? Which, of course, everyone does. And so they have these rallies. And while it's kind of in this this very surface level, like you stop abusing kids stuff, then you see someone with a sign that's like John Podesta drinks blood or like pizza and stuff.

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And so this sort of serves, especially on Facebook, as a gateway to get a lot of people into it. I think what we're seeing with Save the Children is the Kuhnen is moving beyond the older white Trump supporter demographic. These Save the Children marches in L.A., for example, hundreds of people turn out and these are often black or Latino people, young people, women, people in their teens or twenties. So I think we're really seeing Kuhnen blow up with some new groups of people.

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And adding into that, Kuhnen is also getting really big on ticktock. So I think a lot of teens are getting into it as well.

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Can you talk a little bit about the I don't know if you would call them lone wolf Kuhnen folks, but you wrote recently about Cindy apps. This the Colorado woman who was planning to assault the foster care home where her son was living.

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Tell us a little bit about about her and what that plot from her signifies in terms of a next more violent phase of of Kuhnen, where people who haven't even heard of it are now potentially going to be on the receiving end of some of its violence?

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Yeah, I mean, I think one of the most fascinating things to watch about Kuhnen since twenty eighteen has been the ways that it spills over into violence, because sort of at its core, Kuhnen is telling people that these really like the most heinous things you could possibly imagine, are happening and people are getting away with it. And so what do you do about that? So in the case of Cindy APSA, this is this was a woman who in Colorado who had lost custody of her son.

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It's not quite clear why, but it seems like the state had a pretty strong case against her. And so her son was now in a foster home. And so she became convinced through Kuhnen and these various criminal networks that not only did she not have custody of her son, and that was bad enough, but she decides that her son is basically being is being fed into the kitchen on the cabal's sex trafficking ring and is going to be heinously abused.

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So she teams up with these Kuhnen believers, say, to send a guy with a gun and who claims to be this ex sniper. And they're basically plotting. She gets a gun. They're plotting essentially allegedly an armed assault on this foster home. And according to what Abzug told her daughter, who eventually tipped off the police, she claims that they were like, yeah, you know, people are probably going to die, people are going to get hurt.

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But again, these are satanic pedophiles. So it's kind of like, who cares? And so she was really on the verge of this, allegedly. And then the cops moved in and she ended up fleeing and sort of entered this. Q And on this network of Kunhardt fugitives, where they kind of provide each other with material support.

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What's the reaction among the broader kieu community to that? Is there a strain of it that says, listen, you know, don't take your eye off the ball and we're we're waiting for the storm? Or is it more like what you described, that this kind of violence is encouraged and actually given material support through helping her hide out afterwards?

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Yeah, so, I mean, there's all these different sort of factions. And Kuhnen, whenever a violent incident happens, typically they say, well, that's a false flag. You know, that's not us. We're a peaceful research movement is one of their big lines. But consistently, I mean, there's kind of this disconnect between fantasizing about the violent murder of your enemies, saying that Donald Trump would sanction it and that these people are demons, essentially, and then saying, but we just screw around on lied about it.

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We don't know enough to do anything about it.

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And so, you know, I mean, the images these people have, whether they're like demon hunters or crusaders and then, you know, these spill into obviously the comet ping pong shooting was sort of an early antecedent of this. Someone tried to burn down comet ping pong and unbelievers have allegedly one guy murdered his brother, allegedly another fellow killed the head of a mafia family, according to police, and then kind of showed up in court with a Q on his palm.

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You know, there have been plenty of of these incidents. And so sort of each time this happens, they say, you know, it's like either there's a false flag, but, you know, I kind of don't really mind that had happened essentially.

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So how many cue folks are successfully running for Congress or for lower offices right now? I'm not it's not precisely. But how big is this getting at the electoral level?

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Sure. So in the primaries, there were a huge number of them. You know, Media Matters did some great work tracking this at this point. So now most of the primaries are over. I believe there's a little more than a dozen and unaffiliated people who have either made positive comments about Q and on who have gone on. Q and on YouTube shows all the way to. Q and I was real. I love. Q So there are a couple.

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Interesting cases, I think probably one of the biggest ones is Joe Ray Perkins. Hi, my name is Joe Ray Perkins, candidate for the US than in Oregon, where we go one we go all. I stand with President Trump. I stand with him and the team. Thank you, Anon's. Thank you, Patriots. And together we can save our republic.

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Obviously, she's not going to win that. But this is someone who is so into Kuhnen on her campaign, said, no, she's not in Kuhnen. And then she broke down crying and said, Que is like Jesus to me. And then you have Marjorie Taylor Green and Georgia, probably the most interesting case, because she just want to run off in a really Republican district, which means that she will almost certainly win win a seat in Congress in November.

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And tell us about Marianne Mendoza, the activist from Arizona who was supposed to speak at the Republican National Convention. They ended up pulling her video after she tweeted out a kuhnen mean. Tell us a little bit about the dance that the Republican Party is doing here with cue folks. They clearly don't want to be explicitly platforming in endorsing Hewitt on Fox, but they don't seem to be very vocally distancing themselves either.

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No, I mean, there is this game that the Republican Party and the Trump administration are playing. So basically, since twenty eighteen, when people started showing up in force with Que signs and cute shirts at Trump rallies, seemingly, according to on the ground reports, either the Secret Service or campaign security told people to cut that out and was banning Kuhnen paraphernalia. There was kind of this attempt to not make it as public. How much of the Trump base is really into Kuhnen?

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But then you see Trump tweets Kyun on people all the time. He invited some to the White House Social Media Summit. Dann's Corvino posts these kind of wink, wink kuhnen memes inserted in the normal person, the normal voter. This is meaningless to you because you don't know the code words. But then when you say that the Trump campaign is kind of weird, you're doing this. They say, well, I don't know what you're talking about. So in this case, Trump endorses Marjorie Taylor Greene.

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He says she's going to be a big Republican star. And so just over the past couple of weeks, I think Kuhnen has really the administration has had to grapple with it more. I think the latest case we're seeing is that they say, well, I don't know about that, even though obviously you could look it up pretty easily. In the case of Miriam Mendoza, this is this is one of these so-called angel moms whose child was killed in some sort of interaction with an undocumented immigrant.

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And she's been a big Republican star and she was set to speak. And then the morning of her speech, she tweeted this just like deranged anti Semitic kuhnen thread. She referred her fans to check it out about like the protocols of the Elders of Zion and like, let's subjugate the goyim. So it was sort of just like a little too on the nose, I think, in terms of anti-Semitism.

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And what did you make of Trump's comments during the press conference about about Cuba and also what had the folks make of them?

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Yeah, I mean, I think Trump so Trump, when asked about this a couple of times the first time, he kind of brushed it off, I should say, here at Foregrounded Cuban people are obsessed with Trump being asked about Cuba because they think they say, well, if it's so ridiculous, someone should just ask him about it. And unfortunately, they've kind of got what they wanted out of it.

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I don't know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.

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And then someone says, well, I mean, these are people who think that you're at war with these a cabal of cannibal pedophiles.

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And he says, is that supposed to be a bad thing or a bad thing? I mean, you know, if if I can help save the world from problems, I'm willing to do it. I'm willing to put myself out there. And we are, actually.

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And so for Cuban people, this was like this was all they could ask for. He he all but affirmed it in the way they're looking at it. So, you know, I talked to this one big Cuban on promotor, and he was just like he was over the moon. He was Cuban lives to fight another day. You know, we're going to where this is going to help us win so many more people.

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What's been their posture toward you? Do they think that you're a pedophile cannibal, too?

[00:25:10]

Yeah, a lot of them do. The my interactions with Cuban people kind of run the gamut. Some of them are convinced that I'm secretly an agent for Cuba and that by writing all these articles about how ridiculous, dangerous Kuhnen is that I'm really kind of spreading the word, you know, others have I had this one guy call me and he was like, well, like, I'm really concerned for you. You got to come clean. You got to come on board with the team before it's too late.

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But then but a good amount of them, they found some, quote unquote, evidence that I've eaten pizza, comet, ping pong. And now they they kind of use this and they're like, you know, they have kind of an image macro about me and they share it. It's like a meme. And so they're like, you know, they kind of use it like this ultimate trump card that I've eaten pizza before.

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But where do you think this is heading, if you had to guess? Yeah, I mean, I think a big moment for Kunhardt is going to be what happens in November. Either Trump wins and I think the people will kind of be emboldened or Trump loses and, you know, I think we enter sort of a more uncertain territory. I think there are a lot of folks who are hoping that kind of the veil will lift from cue and unbelievers eyes and that they'll kind of blink and be like, oh, what happened?

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But I think in reality, Kuhnen could potentially become more dangerous if Trump loses, because these are people who have been convinced that Trump is going to solve all their problems, both personally and in this imagined world of cannibals. But when they're when that doesn't happen, I think they're going to go like, holy smokes, you know, maybe I have to take action myself.

[00:26:42]

So one last question. If you had to guess who is.

[00:26:46]

Q That is a great question. I mean, I think Q is probably just some random person that, you know, who is just a 4chan user who may be running a YouTube account or something that's making a little money off of Q and on. I think it's really it's really unclear. I mean, I think it's someone who's probably grifting to some extent, but but it's not going to be some big revelation, I think. And I think most importantly, I think even if we found out who Q is, Kuhnen has sort of built in mechanisms to move beyond that revelation.

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You know, even if someone came out and said, yeah, I just made all this stuff up to get rich, haha dummies, I think, and on people have told themselves like, well maybe Q isn't real, but what he told us was true or something. So they've kind of they're ready to move past. It's kind of cute on without. Q is is ready to go.

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I lied. I do have actually one more question. Sure. If, if you do have a family member or a loved one who's who's deep into the the Q phenomenon, what have you found that has worked that is able to kind of de radicalize those people?

[00:27:54]

Yeah, I mean, this is just a super, super hard question and it's one I get a lot from people who have really lost often older parents or or their significant others to.

[00:28:06]

And on a tip I got from David Neiwert, who has a book coming out about basically how to deal with friends and family who get into conspiracy theories is you want to and let's say you have someone who gets into conspiracy theories. Obviously, you want to decide how important is this relationship to you? If somebody went to high school with on Facebook, who cares? But if it's a parent, for example, and if they're getting into it enough that it's really sort of interfering in their relationship or how they operate in the world, you know, you sort of want to basically keep lines of communication open, try not to hit them directly with facts as tempting and understandable as that may be.

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And then you try to kind of figure out what personal issues it is that's driving this person towards conspiracy theories. Maybe it's sort of a feeling of hopelessness in regards to their own personal situation, you know, a sense that the world is kind of getting out of control or something, and then you sort of try to pull them back from there and connect on a sort of personal emotional level. But, you know, that's really easier said than done.

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And, you know, I think there's really very few examples of this successfully working, unfortunately, will.

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Some are wild stuff. Check him out at The Daily Beast. Thank you so much for chatting with us.

[00:29:16]

Thanks for having me.

[00:29:25]

That was Daily Beast politics reporter. Well, summer, for a long time, the stereotype of the average Q fan was that they were all right wing baby boomers. But recently the intercepts politics reporter Aida Chavez has started to notice a new phenomenon on her Facebook feed. Aida, thanks so much for coming on the show. Thanks for having me. So you've noticed something interesting going on in your Facebook feed? Basically, what what have you seen among people you've grown up with lately?

[00:29:52]

Sure. So I grew up in a pretty conservative place. And so it's not unusual for me to be scrolling on Facebook and see posts about Trump or guns or other conservative issues. But I have noticed that starting a few weeks ago, I've just been seeing a lot of Kunhardt in Peter gatepost and like hashtag Save the Children and hashtags about pedophiles. And it's actually pretty jarring to see, like, such a big shift in people like you've known your entire life.

[00:30:21]

Have you spoken to any of them? Yeah.

[00:30:23]

Recently I reached out to this one girl who I've known since, like, I don't know, maybe the fifth grade that was our first time talking and like a few years, actually, I was asking her about when she got into Kuhnen and pizza. Great stuff. And I thought it was really telling. She said that she just started getting into it a couple of weeks ago. And so despite being really conservative, she wasn't like an Ojai pizza person.

[00:30:49]

She just started getting into it recently. What was it that got her into it? It was actually her mom, which I thought was really interesting. And she wasn't the only person who I spoke with who had been indoctrinated by their parents. I spoke with another girl, interestingly enough. They're both from law enforcement families, too, so they had been hearing from their parents for some time about this Kuhnen stuff, and in one case, like she thought, the claims were outrageous.

[00:31:17]

And she just started like consuming the content, like reading the books, watching the YouTube documentaries and not, like, sold her. And the other girl was sold right away.

[00:31:27]

And any of these young women parents themselves?

[00:31:30]

Yeah. One of the friends who I interviewed, she is a stay at home mom to, I think, a two year old son. And so I think that is definitely another pattern that I found in doing interviews with my friends. I have a couple other friends who are young moms who they're actually not conservative at all. They're quite left leaning, pretty liberal people. But they got into it out of just like this deep fear of trafficking and like pedophilia.

[00:31:59]

And since they have a kid like they're young moms, like they're actually really scared. And I've tried explaining how trafficking and sex trafficking has been hijacked by Kuhnen and this fringe far right movement. I guess it doesn't really make sense to them because they're just like inundated with all this fear mongering of trafficking. And so they consider it like a very serious threat. And, you know, who can who can argue with that? Because, you know, trafficking is something that's universally disgusting.

[00:32:32]

Right.

[00:32:32]

And to to pick up on that theme, there is a there there in the sense of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal that did Epstein come up in your conversations with any of your friends?

[00:32:42]

Yeah, absolutely. All of them. And I think that is also a danger for the friends I mentioned who are actually quite like left leaning. I think a problem is that with how Democrats didn't really handle the obscene stuff, they kind of ceded that ground to the far right, I think.

[00:33:03]

Well, this is fascinating. Please keep us updated.

[00:33:07]

I don't know about you, but I like to tell myself that this whole Q thing is just a bunch of old Trump supporters and not something to worry about, but I'm not so sure anymore. It is definitely something to keep watching anyway. Aida, thanks so much for coming on the show and stay safe.

[00:33:22]

Thanks. That's our show, deconstructed as a production of First Look Media on The Intercept, our producer, Zach Young. The show was mixed by Brian Pugh. Our theme music was composed by Bart Warshaw. Betsy Reed is the intercepts editor in chief. I'm Ryan Grim. Metty will be back next week. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the show so you can hear it every week. Go to The Intercept Dotcom Slash Deconstructed to subscribe from your podcast Platform of Choice, iPhone, Android, whatever.

[00:34:00]

If you're subscribed already, please do leave us a rating, a review that helps people find the show. And if you want to give us feedback, email us at Podcast's at the Intercept Dotcom. Thanks so much.