HBO's "Real Time" returned Friday night after a month hiatus. Host Bill Maher came back from vacation to find the country in bigger disarray than he could have imagined.
One new phenomenon that popped up last week was the emergence of QAnon in the national discourse. QAnon is a running conspiracy theory made popular by an anonymous online figure named Q. According to The Daily Beast, Q began posting on anonymous internet forums 4Chan and 8Chan in late 2017. The person or group behind the Q persona claim to have top-level security clearance in the federal government. Q has surfaced, supposedly, to whistleblow a monstrous worldwide criminal conspiracy that portrays high-profile Democrats as pedophiles and President Donald Trump the liberator of vulnerable children.
This article first appeared in Salon.
To no surprise, Trump fans latched onto the conspiracy and have used the narrative to justify their distrust in the media. People who've attended Trump's recent rallies have shown up with signs and t-shirts that promote Q and "The Great Awakening," a nod to the rising awareness of pedophile rings orchestrated by Hollywood celebrities.
Maher attempted to explain all this to his studio audience in Los Angeles on Friday.
“This is a big movement on the right. See, we don’t hear about these things because we’re not crazy,” Maher said near the end of his monologue. “Q is a person—a member of the ‘deep state,’ way high up in the ‘deep state’—but now he’s turning on them, and he’s revealing that the world is run by a giant pedophile ring. Really. Every president since Reagan has been part of it."
"You know who’s a pedophile? Tom Hanks. Steven Spielberg," Maher revealed. "And who’s gonna stop this? Trump. Because who’s more qualified to stop pedophilia than the creep who used to walk in on Miss Teen USA pageants?”
"He wasn't being a creep. He was looking for pedophiles," Maher joked.
Maher's reference to QAnon wasn't lost on the people who believe in the conspiracy. The Reddit channel r/greatawakening shared the video of Maher's monologue and subsequently chastised his ignorance on the subject.
"This is why it's really hard to feel sympathy for the sheep who follow the media/Hollywood," one reddit user wrote. "How can they laugh at this shit? What the fuck is wrong with them? This makes me not want to console them at all when the truth comes out but rub it in their faces."
"It's amazing how well-crafted their lies are," another reddit user said. "People buy into this shit and we have to fight even harder because people are too stupid to actually look into and understand things for themselves. How frustrating."
You can watch the video below via YouTube: