A QAnon ‘Digital Soldier’ Marches On, Undeterred by Theory’s Unraveling

Valerie Gilbert posts dozens of times a day in support of an unhinged conspiracy theory. The story of this “meme queen” hints at how hard it will be to bring people like her back to reality.

Every morning, Valerie Gilbert, a Harvard-educated writer and actress, wakes up in her Upper East Side apartment; feeds her dog, Milo, and her cats, Marlena and Celeste; brews a cup of coffee; and sits down at her oval dining room table.

Then, she opens her laptop and begins fighting the global cabal.

Ms. Gilbert, 57, is a believer in QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory. Like all QAnon faithful, she is convinced that the world is run by a Satanic group of pedophiles that includes top Democrats and Hollywood elites, and that President Trump has spent years leading a top-secret mission to bring these evildoers to justice.

She unspools this web of falsehoods on her Facebook page, where she posts dozens of times a day, often sharing links from right-wing sites like Breitbart and The Epoch Times or QAnon memes she has pulled off Twitter. On a recent day, her feed included a rant against Covid-19 lockdowns, a grainy meme accusing Congress of “high treason,” a post calling Lady Gaga a Satanist and a claim that “covfefe,” a typo that Mr. Trump accidentally tweeted three years ago, was a coded intelligence message.

“I’m the meme queen,” Ms. Gilbert told me. “I won’t produce them, but I share a mean meme, and I’m kind of raw.”

These are confusing times for followers of QAnon, a deranged conspiracy theory birthed in the bowels of the internet. They were told that Mr. Trump would be re-elected in a landslide, and that a coming “storm” would expose the global pedophile ring and bring its leaders to justice.

But there have been no mass arrests, and Mr. Trump is leaving office on Wednesday under the cloud of a second impeachment. Many prominent QAnon followers have been arrested for their roles in this month’s deadly mob riot at the U.S. Capitol. They are being barred by the thousands from major social networks for spreading misinformation about voter fraud, and law enforcement agencies are treating the movement as a domestic extremist threat.

These setbacks have left QAnon believers like Ms. Gilbert hoping for a last-minute miracle. Her current theory is that Mr. Trump will not actually leave office on Wednesday, but will instead declare martial law, declassify damning information about the “deep state” and arrest thousands of cabal members, including President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Like any movement its size — which is almost certainly in the millions, though it is impossible to quantify — QAnon contains a wide range of beliefs and tactics. Some “anons” are veteran conspiracists who have spent years exploring the theory’s many tributaries. Others are newer converts who have only a vague idea how it all connects. There are law-abiding keyboard warriors as well as violent, unhinged radicals.

There is no question that QAnon, which began in 2017 with a series of anonymous posts on the 4chan online message board by “Q,” a person purporting to be a high-ranking government insider, has outgrown its roots on the far-right fringes. It is now a big-tent conspiracy theory community that includes left-wing yoga moms, anti-lockdown libertarians and “Stop the Steal” Trumpists. QAnon believers are young and old, male and female, educated and not. Every community in America has its fair share of them — dentists and firefighters and real estate agents who disappeared down a social media rabbit hole one day and never came back.

“This is not just young, male incels who live in their parents’ basements and can’t get a real job,” said Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory researcher who is writing a book about QAnon. “QAnon gives you a target to point your anger at, and it gives you something to do about it. That’s something that can appeal to anyone who is disaffected in any way.”

Ms. Gilbert’s elite pedigree — she attended the Dalton School in Manhattan and worked on The Harvard Lampoon with Conan O’Brien in the 1980s — illustrates the wide range of people who have ended up in Q’s thrall. And her story hints at how hard it will be to bring those people back to reality.

(c) New York Times


  1. “Every morning, Valerie Gilbert, a Harvard-educated writer and actress, wakes up in her Upper East Side apartment; feeds her dog, Milo, and her cats, Marlena and Celeste; brews a cup of coffee; and sits down at her oval dining room table.”

    “Then, she opens her laptop and begins fighting the global cabal.”

    This just goes to prove, a good education does not necessarily equate to someone being smart. I’m sure Harvard are proud of this nutter.

    • The biggest problem is that a few nutjobs like this spoil the legitimate narrative that there was fraud in the election. These guys get all the attention and then when someone wants to fix the system they are marginalized and criticized by the fraudsters themselves.
      I could say, “A ballot is not a ballot without a signature and a date.” Then one of the Antifa criminals would say, “Qanon! Qanon! Kill him before he speaks again!”

      • GOP should denounce these conspiracy theory nutjobs who associate themselves with the Republican party. My theory is these people don’t care if they destroy the GOP or Democrats, they just want to destabilize the country.

        • Agreed. I didn’t know anything about them until I heard Democrats talk about them. I still haven’t seen anything from them. From what I’ve seen, it is the hard Left that basks in conspiracy theories. Republicans usually rely on facts and figures.

                  • I know 🙂 It’s the same political and economical system that Bernie Sanders want parts of introduced to America, that damned communist 😉

                    • Bernie was and is a communist. All socialists are just shy communists who prefer to hide under a less nasty word. He used to hang out with turds like Daniel Ortega and sing communist shit like The Internationalle. All Marxists dream of a world government. Just read the repulsive lyrics of that vile song. Bernie is a highly intelligent communist agitator, which is why he is mentoring AOC, who, along with her hate-spewing anti-Semite friends ‘the Squad’ would start interring and killing opponents Chavez style if she ever got hold of the levers of power. She is the future of the Democrats: revolutionary communism.

                    • See my reply to Knuters re Commissar Bernie! He (Bernie) is a fan of JeremIRA CorbLenin, the putler-groveling turd who ran The Labour Party in Britain until very recently. That fact alone makes him a dangerous arsehole.
                      Update: Hitchens mods allowed my comment. It now sits there with hundreds of putinoid scum comments. :-

                      A column that would not be out of of place on Sputnik or RT, who would no doubt give him a job if he wanted it. Mr Hitchens has been pumping out cleverly disguised kremlin propaganda for many years. He even went to Crimea long before Russia’s invasion to advocate the Russian case for stealing it back. He fails to mention his seething hatred for Ukraine for having the temerity for desiring freedom after 360 years of genocide, misery and horror under Russian occupation. He fails to mention that Yanukovich was a Russian puppet who bled the country dry. He was not ‘legitimate’. He was installed by a Russian funded company run by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, who deployed US-style political black arts to bamboozle an immature, naive electorate. They transformed a convicted armed robber into a seemingly viable candidate by lies and trickery and of course an unlimited budget.
                      He fails to mention that Yanukovich also ‘won’ a sham election in 2004. His opponent was poisoned by putin’s goons and a protest overturned that travesty.
                      He fails to mention that he believes that somehow Ukraine is ‘part of’ Russia, whilst history proves the opposite. Being ‘part of’ is not the same as ‘occupied by’.
                      A cursory examination of his blog archive reveals a curious thing: when the topic of Russia is inserted, there is generous praise for its regime. When the names of countries like Ukraine or Georgia are inserted, there is nothing but contempt and derision. He is like the fat kid in school who stands there laughing while the school bully kicks his victim who is already on the ground.
                      Does he think that all former imperial powers have the right to thieve back former dominions whenever they want, or does he reserve that right exclusively for Russia, whose regime has managed to murder more innocent Christians in Europe this century than the combined efforts of AQ/isis?

          • They do, but not the alt-right, which is not Republican, but attached itself to Trump, an ex-Democrat btw.

            • He was never a Democrat or a Republican, he was in it only for himself. He would throw Ivanka under the bus if that could save him and his money, as he did with his supporters after he discovered it could hurt him

              • He was indeed a Democrat. The Clintons went to his wedding and they are vile pigs who would have used his shit for toothpaste in order to advance their career.

  2. Conspiracy theorists, or ‘cunts’, as I call them, took off in the 70’s (possibly earlier) with the Russia-originated lie that the moon landings were directed by (Hollywood director) Stanley Kubrick, as part of a plot to make Russia look like losers. It is still believed to this day, as is the bullshit about 9/11being an ‘inside job’ (the Bushes, Mossad, the Masons, Illuminati etc), ‘Pizzagate’ etc. David Icke, Alex Jones and many others have built a career out of this slurry. Common denominator: they all love the tiny poisoner. QAnon is just the latest.
    The first internationally successful one was ‘the protocols of the elders of Zion’, which inspired Hitler and is still widely believed today in Russia and the ME. Take a wild guess where this shit originated!

    • That pile of shit called Infowars, should just rename itself RT, most of the articles come from RT or Sputnik.

  3. “I’m the meme queen,” Ms. Gilbert told me. “I won’t produce them, but I share a mean meme, and I’m kind of raw.”

    I think she means half-baked.

    For those who are unaware, I am a Freemason, a lot of shite gets flung our way by these morons. All of it untrue.

    If anyone does want to know or has a question its always best to ask someone who does actually know.

  4. There have always been a lot of nuts in this world. Now, the www makes it possible to spread their nuttiness across the globe to other nuts and their nuttiness. Call me a nut, but nuttiness is as much a problem as CO2, I believe.

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