From conspiracy to normalcy: The mainstreaming of QAnon in “Disney grooming” messages online

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In March of 2022, The Walt Disney Company voiced opposition to Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” (“Don’t Say Gay”) in support of LGBTQ+ stakeholders within the company and the public. This research studied a dataset of 68,481 tweets where the company’s stance was constructed as “grooming” children, that is, manipulating children for sexual abuse. Tweets were collected from March 13, 2022 to May 16, 2022 representing a 2-month period from Disney’s stance against "Parental Rights in Education.” As grooming is a term often associated with human trafficking and Disney is a major media company, this study is interested in potential linkages to QAnon messaging. QAnon is a conspiracy that proposes a “cabal of elites” is trafficking and abusing children. This thematic connection has been noted by previous scholarship and this study seeks to contribute to empirical validation of that connection. Results suggest that the accounts having the most effect in terms of impact, views, shares, and followers are primarily accounts that have shared QAnon related conspiratorial content.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCrime, Media, Culture
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Disney
  • extremism
  • homophobia
  • QAnon
  • radicalization
  • social media
  • transphobia

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