Mark Szuszkiewicz Is a QAnon Nut Who Believes Tom Hanks Is a Pedophile. He’s Leading a NY Election Anyway.
Mark Szuszkiewicz, the actor-turned-state congressional candidate, is poised to become the first QAnon elected official in Brooklyn. He was also convicted of stalking a colleague.
The differences between the state congressional candidates for New York’s Assembly District 46—the region spanning Coney Island, Sea Gate, and surrounding South Brooklyn—were fairly stark. The incumbent Mathylde Frontus, like her predecessors for the past 80 years, was a Black Democrat; the challenger Mark Szuszkiewicz was a white Republican. She raised $18,600 for her campaign. He pulled in just $1,420. Frontus called for free tuition at public colleges; Szuszkiewicz wanted a mandatory mechanics class that would teach kids to build their own desks.
Probably the main departure though, is that Frontus doesn’t believe Donald Trump led a crusade to eradicate a cabal of satanic Hollywood and Democratic pedophiles controlling all American institutions. On social media and elsewhere, Brooklyn Paper first noted, Szuszkiewicz has openly embraced QAnon, the unfounded conspiracy theory that has flourished under the Trump presidency. “Complete with #QAnon and #Q hashtags,” Curbed wrote of a since-deleted post on his Instagram, “Szuszkiewicz suggested that Tom Hanks became a Greek citizen after Greece declared pedophilia a disability.” (Notably, Greece has not declared pedophilia a disability, and Tom Hanks was granted honorary Greek citizenship because his wife is Greek, they’ve owned a vacation home there for decades, and the couple helped drew international attention to wildfires near Athens in 2018.)
On Saturday, as one slice of Brooklyn’s electorate cheered the ouster of a different incumbent, QAnon-supporting Szuszkiewicz had edged into a narrow lead. The election has not yet been called, but he currently claims some 54 percent of the district’s 32,920 votes. If Frontus doesn’t close the 1,520-vote gap, her challenger will join newfound Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (also Republican) in the selective club of QAnon-endorsing elected officials. He’d also number among the much larger coalition of elected COVID-19 truthers. On Instagram, Szuszkiewicz has claimed that the virus is “no more deadly than the flu.” (It’s far deadlier.) Just last week, Szuszkiewicz shared a video of his election night speech, featuring a large indoor crowd where almost no one wears masks.
On his website, Szuszkiewicz—who goes by “Skevich”—claims he’s “not a typical power-hungry politician,” citing prior gigs as a security guard, truck driver, retail salesman, insurance agent, real estate broker, and financial adviser. But through many of those jobs, the Coney Island-native had a more familiar pre-political training: acting.
“Whether being in character in a film or interviewing prominent figures in sports or running for public office, people respond to authenticity. Similar skills are required—being present, listening, being truthful,” a campaign spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “Critics can be harsh, but they have nothing on voters, who are never shy about letting you know quickly if they approve of your work. Acting, which is both deeply personal and collaborative, is good preparation for politics.”
Szuszkiewicz’ bio alleges that he “produced an award-winning sports talk local cable TV program where he interviewed numerous celebrities and athletes,” in addition to “a music TV show and a political TV show where he interviewed former mayor candidate Joe Lhota, former congressman Michael Grimm, and other politicians.” The campaign site never names the TV shows or the awards he received, but it does include a link. “There were so many moments in my career on TV that to go into detail on each story would make for its own website,” Szuszkiewicz wrote. “Which there is one and that site is FinalTakes.com.”
Szuszkiewicz’ IMDb entry is short, with just four acting credits: a 2019 short called The Needs, about students with special needs; a sci-fi show called Classifyed that has not been released; a 2016 TV movie called PRESSED on‘70s-era battle rap; and a TV series called Vish Merrick about a veteran “seeking vengeance for his murdered family” who “gets pulled into the underbelly of NYC’s dark underworld.”
The vast majority of Szuszkiewicz’ television experience comes from shows on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network—the public access nonprofit where The Chris Gethard Show debuted. (MNN did not respond to comment). In 2011, he started a local show called Real Fans Real Talk, where he interviewed “numerous celebrities,” including several local rappers and boxers.
Two years later, he added Not Politics As Usual, where, sitting at a folding table covered in a long blue tablecloth, he interviewed local Republicans about subjects like the Second Amendment and “The Gay Marriage Topic.” His most recent iteration, Final Takes, airs on Saturdays channels in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s mostly about sports, but anyone who tags the show’s Instagram account can also come on as a guest.
Szuszkiewicz has weathered other scandals. In 2008, he landed a felony conviction for aggravated assault and criminal contempt, later vacated by the court after he got sober and underwent psychiatric treatment. Szuszkiewicz “allegedly stalked a work associate,” Brooklyn Paper reported, “calling her up to 10 times a day, leaving strange messages, and writing a ‘masterpiece’ poem that involved his coworker saving the world.”
When his former employer J.P. Morgan fired him over the legal trouble, Szuszkiewicz sued, claiming discrimination against a mental disability. “Bringing this matter up now is a political smear—for what?” a campaign spokesman said of the incident. “It’s a disgusting and desperate personal attack made after the voters have spoken.”
Szuszkiewicz’ platform doesn’t mention his QAnon beliefs, and offers few remedies for the nutty pedophilia conspiracy—though it does, in Trumpian fashion, promote unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.