Oh Sh*t, All The QAnon People Got Murdered By Anthrax!
Conspiracy theorists flocked to the ReAwaken America Tour in Dallas earlier this month. The guests of no honor at what Newsweek euphemistically calls a “QAnon-friendly event” included Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Theoretically more prominent speakers were Roger Stone, Mike Lindell (pillow Mike!), Michael Flynn (traitor Mike!), and Eric Trump, who also exists.
Dozens of attendees became ill shortly after the event. Their symptoms are familiar — coughing, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, and fever — so it’s obvious what happened: They were victims of an anthrax attack.
Or COVID-19. We are smack dab in a global pandemic. The attendees weren’t just unvaccinated but made a special trip to hear anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. They spent time in enclosed spaces together. They probably didn’t wear masks (that "probably" was us being hilarious). Yes, anthrax and COVID-19 share similar symptoms, but this was probably not anthrax. (It’s definitely not lupus.)
However, anthrax better serves the QAnon-er’s persecution complex. They didn’t step into a COVID rake. No, the deep state sicced a biological weapon on their asses.
Rightwing podcast host Joe Oltmann claimed without evidence Sunday that he’d been anthraxed. The video recording of his podcast shows him coughing and sneezing on camera like someone with a respiratory illness or, what the hell, anthrax. (It wasn’t anthrax.)
“South Florida peeps. I have a [sic] urgent need! I have been sick with what could be an anthrax attack it turns out. More later on this,” he wrote on Telegram, a messaging app beloved by the extreme right. The ambiguous message was viewed by more than 130,000 people.
Oltmann posted on Monday that fellow Big Liar "Jovan Pulitzer is in a bad place right now. Please pray for him. Bring the spirit of healing upon him. In Jesus name, Amen.” Then he added, "Might be Anthrax.” Don’t think you’re supposed to have postscripts after “Amen.”
According to Oltmann, Pulitzer reached out to him on Wednesday: “In and out of the hospital. Getting tested. Negative for Anthrax. Weird symptoms so no idea what he has. But, he is alive and kicking so there is that.”
Probably should’ve asked for a COVID-19 test. That might’ve explained the so-called “weird symptoms.” Pulitzer tweeted this deranged update yesterday:
To my friends tried to keep this underwraps until we knew what we were dealing with but Evidence suggest that several of us were targeted by biological agents at an event. This has wreaked havoc on my system [with] all of the most dangerous symptoms appearing. Scary to say the least.
1. To my friends tried to keep this underwraps until we knew what we were dealing with but Evidence suggest that several of us were targeted by biological agents at an event This has wreaked havoc on my system w all of the most dangerous symptoms appearing Scary to say the least— JovanHuttonPulitzer\u2122 #JovanHuttonPulitzer (@JovanHuttonPulitzer\u2122 #JovanHuttonPulitzer) 1640186378
Sweet Christ. The “evidence” clearly suggests that he has COVID-19. I think it’s been in the news recently. The evidence for anthrax is lacking. Does he remember touching a white powder or handling visibly ill animals?
He went on:
From rashes to blistering, passing blood to 2 solid days of haculicinations. (he means “hallucinations,” which I also don’t recommend. — SER) Massive fever storms drenching me and not abating BUT STILL NO definitive diagnosis yet. All I know is zombie symptoms would be easier than these symptoms.
“Massive fever storms drenching me.” The guy gets sick for a few days and he’s already writing erotica.
Clay Clark, ReAwaken America Tour’s lead organizer, disputed the batshit theory that fog machines were used to infect people with anthrax. (If that had happened, everyone would be deader than fried chicken.) Clark demanded that the people pushing these rumors provide “physical evidence,” which is hilarious when you consider who he’s talking about here. There’s a 24-hour "X-Files" marathon running in these people’s heads and it’s not even the good episodes.
“All I know is that we have done seven events of these so far, and at each event, people have claimed they have been attacked by a bio-weapon,” [Clark] said. “This is actually normal for me.”
That’s a generous definition of “normal.” Clark added that he’s considering banning people from future events who’ve spread the anthrax attack hoax. Conspiracies that reach too close to home aren’t good for his bottom line.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."