ICSA Annual Conference: Down the Rabbit Hole: How do the family and friends of QAnon believers seek and provide support in the Facebook Families of Q Cult support group?

Jeannette Mulherin, Sunday, June 26, 2022, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM – Online

For the family and friends of QAnon adherents, the stakes have never been higher. For many who have found their way into this extreme right-wing cult, the price has been broken relationships, financial ruin, and legal troubles. Some have committed violent acts—including murder—driven by their unwavering devotion to QAnon, a web of interrelated and ever-evolving conspiracy theories that include belief in a global sex trafficking ring run by high-level U.S. politicians and the existence of lizard people masquerading among us as human beings.

Desperate to free their loved ones from the grip of such a destructive group, friends and family are seeking advice and support from professionals. Often they are also looking to each other, people undergoing similar trials and challenges, for support, guidance, and a place to share their sorrows, fears, and frustrations. This presentation will delve into the daily interactions among members of the Facebook “Families of Q Cult Support Group” from 1 January to 31 December 2021 to better understand how the family and friends of QAnon members are responding to the challenge of caring for someone trapped in this high-profile and dangerous modern-day cult.

Jeannette Mulherin

Jeannette Mulherin

Jeannette Mulherin is a PhD student in the Writing and Rhetoric program at George Mason University. Her research interests include deradicalization, deconversion, and feminist rhetorics. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations from Georgetown University. Her undergraduate degree in music from the Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Mulherin works for a consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area. In her spare time, she writes for the Maryland Theatre Guide.