Believing in the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory means buying into a lot of crazy ideas.
QAnon supporters think Trump is engaged in a shadow war against Democratic pedophiles, and that he’ll soon send all of his political enemies to military tribunals. After that, they think Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are headed for cells in Guantanamo Bay.
But a faction of QAnon supporters has become convinced of an idea that stands out for being ridiculous, even by the standards of QAnon-world. A number of QAnon believers have become convinced that John F. Kennedy Jr. faked his death in 1999, and now shows up at Trump rallies in disguise.
Now someone is taking advantage of that ludicrous belief. For months, a Twitter account called “TheRealRAnon” has been posing as a man some QAnon believers think is actually Kennedy.
In fact, the Twitter account appears to be run by a former Green Party congressional candidate in Arizona who makes money off QAnon supporters through Amazon affiliate links.
The idea that Kennedy faked his death to help QAnon arose this summer, when “Q,” the anonymous poster behind QAnon, disappeared for about a month. In Q’s place, a new mystery poster, “R,” appeared on the QAnon forums to claim that Kennedy was somehow involved in the conspiracy theory.
Thanks to those clues, plenty of QAnon believers became convinced that Vincent Fusca—a fedora-wearing Trump superfan from Pennsylvania who regularly appears in the background of Trump campaign speeches—is actually Kennedy in disguise.
They analyze his cheekbones for proof, run age-analysis imaging on pictures of Kennedy to show that he would now look like Fusca, and worry about the fact that Fusca seems significantly shorter than Kennedy. Even after “Q” returned and claimed that Kennedy is actually dead, a number of QAnon believers continue to insist that Fusca is actually Kennedy.
It’s unclear how Fusca has taken his oddball internet fame. He didn’t respond to comments for this story, but he has frequently posed for pictures with excited QAnon believers.
But Fusca isn’t the only one enjoying QAnon believers’ misconceptions about him and Kennedy. Until it was deleted on Wednesday, a Twitter account called “TheRealRAnon” had amassed more than 30,000 Twitter followers by posing as Fusca. Promising a 2024 Fusca presidential bid, the account tweeted QAnon-related items that QAnon fans thought gave them a direct line to Fusca—and thus, in their minds, to Kennedy himself.
But a series of digital clues first outlined in a Medium post by writer Douglas Stewart suggest that the account is run by Ray Parrish, an Arizona man who lost a 2016 congressional bid for the Green Party.
Before the Twitter account changed to @TheRealRAnon, for example, it was previously called “RayParrishAZ” and “RayandJill2016,” and was used to promote Parrish’s congressional bid. Previous tweets from the account, many of which have now been deleted, show the account’s operator tweeting as Parrish, referring in the first-person to his congressional bid and interacting with reporters.
In its Twitter bio, the Fusca impersonation account had a series of links to various conspiracy theory books sold on Amazon. All of the URLs were affiliate links, meaning that the operator of the Twitter account would get a cut of the profits from Amazon. The URLs also have the same affiliate name that was used on other Twitter accounts Parrish has used to sell vitamins, another connection to the Fusca account.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Parrish said he was aware of QAnon, but denied that he was behind the Twitter account, while seeming to suggest someone may have swiped it from him.
“Let’s put it this way,” Parrish said. “You end up with many different social media accounts, and you’re not necessarily behind all of them.”
Parrish said he would get to the bottom of who was now using his former campaign Twitter account to trick QAnon supporters.
“This is really interesting, this is really interesting,” said Parrish, who may know something about false flags after Republicans paid to promote his Green Party run in 2016 to try and drain votes from the Democrat in the race, according to the Casa Grande Dispatch.
“I will tell you, a lot of creepy stuff goes on.”
The Fusca Twitter account was deleted shortly after The Daily Beast talked to Parrish, who hasn’t responded to phone calls since then.
The account’s disappearance hasn’t dissuaded QAnon believers, though. After it was deleted on Tuesday night, QAnon supporters took to Twitter to call the account just another victim of the deep state.
“If he is not JFK JR, why delete the account?” tweeted one QAnon believer.