But the docuseries doesn’t fully capture—at least not in detail—all the crazy lengths to which Watkins went in order to finger Steve Bannon as the head of the violent, culty conspiracy movement.
“Ron actually had been planting the seed for Bannon from the very first time I met him,” Q: Into the Storm director Cullen Hoback tells Will Sommer and Swin Suebsaeng on the new episode of the Fever Dreams podcast. “So he had known me for, I think, less than 48 hours. And at the end of that interview… he pulls me aside and he just says, ‘You know, you should look into Steve Bannon.’ Which I immediately found pretty suspicious... Right from the get-go, he was planting the seed.”
Hoback wasn’t the only guy Watkins was trying to convince. Even in his own shop—the notorious troll-haven 8Chan—Watkins was attempting to shine a light on Bannon. “It seemed like he had even done that internally. Somebody who works with them [Ron Watkins and his father, Jim] at one point… showed me a chat they’d had that went all the way back to early January of 2018, where Ron was internally suggesting Steve Bannon.”
Hoback adds, “It seems that this was a red herring. This is my interpretation, that it was a red herring that he had been planting for some time. And I suspect that he had put a lot of work into this and wanted someone to pick up on it.”
As the documentary shows, Watkins even produced a supposed “data set” meant to demonstrate that “Q” and the former top Trump strategist were in the roughly same place at roughly the same time.
But suspicion eventually swung back to Ron and his dad, even though they were almost certainly not “Q” originally. (Most likely, it was a group of folks.) Back then, you might be surprised to learn, “Q” was treated as a joke—one of a whole gaggle of “anons” claiming to have insider knowledge of the nefarious workings of the “deep state”. There was even one character named “BigDickAnon,” Sommer says.
“It’s interesting reading the first posts where everyone’s like, ‘Get outta here, Q, you’re a total loser.’ There’s a really funny line where Q’s like, ‘I must go dark, the deep state is closing in’ and someone’s like, ‘Yeah, time to log off. Mom’s meatloaf is ready, loser. Get out of here,’” Sommer adds. “It’s just fascinating to see how people treated Q initially and how it turned into this thing that would have people in Congress—and storming Congress.”