Image: Kyle Grillot (Getty Images)
QAnon, the internet brainvirus that’s set untold masses searching for Satanic pedovores and howling “do your reeeeseaaaaarch” in every known comment section has afflicted the wellness community.
As New York Times reporter Kevin Roose noticed this morning, a handful of yogi influencers have posted a joint statement on Instagram to “take a stand” against the future of the GOP, expressing deep concern for “some in the wellness community” who have fallen into the web of baseless conspiracies largely spun by the alt-right.
“QAnon is deliberately and strategically targeting wellness communities appealing to your empathy for children and potential mistrust of the government,” yogi and author Amy Ippoliti captioned a post, warning her nearly 50,000 followers who might be guided towards fanciful horseshit by a trusted mentor.
We have no idea how many health and wellness professionals adhere to QAnon, but there’s clearly an overlap. Creators of the podcast Conspirituality have compiled a crowdsourced list of wellness industry personalities, from a chef to a reiki healer, who’ve hyped QAnon—many to tens of thousands of followers. When Bill Gates vaccination conspiracies ran rampant through Facebook this spring, many of the top sharing pages, with millions of followers, were mindfulness and natural lifestyle-themed Facebook groups. QAnon’s big tent has enabled adherents to raise their profile through global anti-child trafficking campaigns and pandemic “all-natural” snake oil peddling.
“Too many folks, including many of my dear colleagues, have bought into their divisive and outrageous messaging for me not to speak out,” yogi
Seane Corn wrote. “Please don’t tell me to ‘do the research,’” Corn added. “I have. Please don’t tell me that I don’t care about the eradication of child human trafficking. Of course I do.” Corn added that there’s a “concerning marriage” between the “alt-right […] and the wellness world.”
Yoga teacher and creator of the podcast SoulFeed Shannon Algeo told Gizmodo that lately he’s been hearing the term “conspirituality,” in reference to an overlap between spiritual perceptiveness and receptiveness to conspiracy theories. He believes that people may be more likely to receive an appeal to reason if it comes from a trusted community member or mentor rather than a media outlet. “There are people who have relationships with Seane Corn; she’s traveled around the world for decades. Seane’s a friend of mine. Hearing the message from someone you trust and respect… that has weight. I hope that because of that relationship, people might think, huh. That’s all it takes—just a sliver of doubt in this theory to question how they got there.”
See the full joint statement below:
“We want to have a heart to heart with you about the group QAnon. Some in the wellness community have joined this group and we are greatly concerned. This statement is to warn you about the dangers of this group, which is utilizing tactics that resemble cult psychology.
QAnon is taking advantage of our conscious community with videos and social media steeped with bizarre theories, mind control and misinformation—don’t be swayed by these messages!
We are aware that QAnon originated on the dark web of hate and white supremacy, and have re-packaged their massage[sic] to appeal to spiritual communities. Don’t be fooled. The true intent of QAnon is to spread misinformation, blame, conflict, and sow racial division in our country.
WE ARE CLEAR-
QAnon does NOT represent the true values of the wellness community. We care about your mental and emotional wellbeing and we are here to say, ‘Beware. Stay in your body. Use discernment. Be skeptical of the real motives behind QAnon. And, most importantly, stay in connection with friends and family.’
Our hearts are breaking from the rampant misinformation that is dividing our community. We are asking you to join us by sharing this message, and take a stand against QAnon.”
QAnon has spilled over from the sewers of 8chan and into real life extremist circles. Now it’s worming its way into unrelated online communities, like the wellness groups of Facebook and Instagram. While Facebook claims that it removed hundreds of groups devoted specifically to QAnon, there’s still plenty of QAnon content to be found elsewhere. We’ve reached out to Facebook and Instagram for comment and will update if we hear back.