On Friday night, Roseanne Barr tweeted a bizarre message that no one seemed to understand.
“President Trump has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world. Hundreds each month. He has broken up trafficking rings in high places everywhere,” she wrote, adding he gets the benefit of the doubt from her.
But as recently as November, Barr fans were speculating that the Trump-supporting actress had secretly been taken out and swapped with an imposter as part of a massive “deep state” conspiracy.
Roseanne, Barr’s 1990s show about a blue-collar Illinois family, spent 21 years off air before returning Tuesday to a massive viewership of more than 18 million. Trump called Barr to congratulate her on the ratings.
Since the show’s last episode in 1997, Barr’s politics have taken a sharp turn right, with the actress voicing her support for Trump as well as a number of fringe conspiracy theories. In November, she became a bit player in one of her favorite theories: a 4Chan-based conspiracy called QAnon that alleges satanism and sex-trafficking by Trump’s opponents.
“who is Q?” Barr tweeted the morning of Nov. 17.
“tell Qanon to DM me in the nexxt 24 hours,” she tweeted hours later.
“Q” or “QAnon” refers to a user on the anonymous message board 4chan. The user claims to be a high-ranking government official with inside knowledge of the White House where, he claims, Trump is planning mass arrests of top Democrats for allegedly being involved in a satanic child-sex-trafficking ring. Or something. QAnon’s messages have always been vague to the point of near-gibberish, opening them to interpretation. When QAnon has given specifics—like the time he claimed John Podesta would be arrested or indicted Nov. 3—the prediction has fallen flat.
Days after that failed prophecy, Barr was on Twitter asking her followers to put her in touch with QAnon. Then, in what believers interpreted as confirmation of the QAnon theory, Barr’s internet presence went dark. Her Twitter account appeared to be suspended for several hours, and her website went offline for “technical reasons” according to a notice on the homepage.
“Roseanne had been talking about Q mostly all day and asking him to contact her, now,” one Redditor in the r/conspiracies subreddit wrote of Barr’s disappearance from Twitter, and claiming it confirmed the QAnon conspiracy. “I am viewing this as vindication.”
Barr was back online hours later.
“guys! i am OK! I’m here-thank you for worrying,” she wrote. “I am OK and back. explanation later on-”
She never appeared to offer the explanation. Redditors noted that Barr had lost more than 200,000 followers during her brief disappearance. The apparent purge suggests Barr’s account may have been flagged as having fake followers. Twitter does not comment on individual accounts, and a representative for Barr did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
As for the technical difficulties on her website, DomainTools shows the website underwent a semi-regular maintenance procedure that day. Like many celebrities, Barr registers her website through a privacy-protecting service. The service registers the website under randomly generated email proxies, which change every few months. One of those occasional changes occurred Nov. 17, potentially causing technical difficulties or suggesting other technical work on the site that briefly took it offline.
But even with Barr returned, some fans were suspicious that an imposter had replaced her. “How do we know its you?” one tweeted at the returned Roseanne.
“Let us know that you are really back,” another tweeted. “Give us a real sign that will let us know it really is you.”
Redditors theorized that Barr had suspended herself to draw attention to QAnon. “Conspiracyception: She deleted her account to make it seem like Twitter is cooked,” one wrote.
The month after her brief disappearance, Barr deleted all her tweets and announced a temporary Twitter retirement after a knock-down fight with Hillary Clinton supporters on the website.
She was back in January, and has since resumed tweeting about QAnon, in apparent contradiction of fans who had previously claimed Twitter was censoring her conspiracy tweets. Since Friday, she has tweeted or retweeted content relating to QAnon (or its other name “The Storm”) at least four times, in addition to a March 24 tweet that read “MKULTRA,” the name of a 1960s CIA mind-control program. The context for the tweet was not clear.
Her most recent post about QAnon is a retweeted clip of Stephen Colbert welcoming then-candidate Donald Trump onto his show. “You are not supposed to see this video,” the video, which is tagged with a QAnon hashtag is captioned.
The clip, in fact, aired during Colbert’s CBS show. Barr retweeted it early Thursday. Hours earlier, she and Trump had spoken on the phone.
The QAnon tweets weren’t Barr’s first dabbling in conspiracy. A prolific Twitter user, Barr had once retweeted an InfoWars report “on the ‘5.7 Million Illegals’ who they baselessly claim voted in the presidential election,” The Daily Beast’s Amy Zimmerman previously reported. Barr has also pushed conspiracy theories about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, whom some truthers believe was killed in a Clinton-ordered hit.
Barr’s politics have also tended toward the fringes. In 2009, Barr (who is Jewish) posed for a photoshoot in the Jewish youth magazine Heeb, in which she dressed as Hitler eating singed, human-shaped “Jew cookies.” The magazine, which labeled Barr “the last celebrity utterly incapable of giving a fuck” later pulled the photo spread.
In 2012, she launched a presidential campaign as a Green Party candidate but lost to Jill Stein in the primary. Since then, Barr’s views have veered right with blatantly Islamophobic tweets. In an August 2016 Twitter rant, she claimed “jew hater hillary clinton’s handler huma weiner is a filthy nazi whore.”