Caesars Entertainment’s decision to host an event organized by the controversial far-right QAnon movement has been met with consternation by some experts on terrorism and extremist ideology.
The event, dubbed the “Patriot Double Down,” will be held at Caesars Forum convention space in Las Vegas from October 22 to 25. Organized by a group calling itself Patriotic Voice, the meeting is also referred to as the “Great Awakening Weekend” in promotional literature.
QAnon followers subscribe to a convoluted internet conspiracy theory which holds, in part, that an international cabal of satanic, cannibalistic child sex traffickers operate as part of an American “deep state.”
New World Order
According to QAnon, the cabal’s ranks are composed of Democratic lawmakers and liberal celebrities hellbent on establishing a secretive New World Order.
The QAnon theory also holds that the pedophilic deep state conspired to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency. Followers believed that Trump was pushing back, working to orchestrate the mass televised arrests of thousands of cabal members on a day that would be known as “The Storm.”
The Storm never happened, causing many QAnon followers to become disillusioned with the group.
The FBI considers the QAnon movement to be a domestic terrorist threat. More than 20 self-identified followers were arrested for participating in the January 6 entry of the Capitol, but the FBI recently noted there was no coordinated effort on any group’s part.
Georgia State University professor Mia Bloom studies terror groups and extremism. She told The Las Vegas Review-Journal she was surprised Caesars would agree to stage the event because of the bad publicity it might generate and the health risks involved.
Caesars is offering special rates to potentially thousands of QAnon-espousing Covid-19 denialists to stay at Harrah’s Las Vegas, the Flamingo, or the LINQ during the conference.
Meanwhile, in the real world beyond the internet forums, the group’s message can have devastating consequences for some vulnerable people struggling with mental health issues.
Earlier this month, a QAnon follower was charged with killing his two young children in Mexico because he believed they’d inherited their mother’s “lizard DNA that would turn them into monsters,” according to federal agents.
In April, a mother admitted to drowning her three children to protect them from QAnon’s imagined deep state pedophiles.
In Like Flynn
Among the speakers at the three-day convention are disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn and ex-Nevada Assemblyman Jim Marchant, who is running for Nevada secretary of state. Marchant has repeatedly denied the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Also on the bill is Jim Watkins, owner of 8kun, formerly 8chan, an internet message board that has been called out as a haven for white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.
When prodded by the LVR-J, Caesars said in a statement that it provides convention space for a “wide range of industries and organizations.” These events do not reflect the company’s own views, nor were they “an endorsement of any group or organization.”
On QAnon’s COVID-19 denial, Caesars said: “We require all of our guests to comply with local laws and mandates, including the current indoor mask mandate.”
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