Ben Lee, Of All People, Has Joined The Fight Against QAnon
An unlikely hero emerges.
Ben Lee is worried about the impact of conspiracy theories on the US’s ability to contain both the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising tides of fascism, and has become a somewhat unlikely hero in the attempt to combat widespread delusions spread under the QAnon umbrella.
Over the last month, Lee, who lives in the US, has taken to tweeting almost exclusively about the country’s many maladies and encouraging his followers to vote for Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden. But it’s Lee’s tweets specifically about QAnon, an increasingly mainstream conspiracy theory, that stand out, as he demands that his (assumedly largely) left-wing or new-age audience don’t also get swept up in things.
For those unsure what exactly QAnon is, Business Insider reporter Cameron Wilson has an excellent explainer on the theory’s roots and how it’s taken shape in an Australian context, too. In short, it began as a theory that Donald Trump is covertly taking down a cabal of elite and Satanic child traffickers — pointedly, the belief conflates ‘elites’ with ‘Jewish’, and stems from 20th century anti-Semitic conspiracies.
It is a malleable beast, and quickly absorbs all manner of beliefs, including that COVID-19 is a hoax, as well as the anti-5G movement — many of the anti-lockdown protests around the world are a hodgepodge of QAnon signs and placards.
— Ben Lee (@benleemusic) September 13, 2020
It’s ridiculous, but far from harmless — a quick look at the Reddit board QAnon Casualities reveals families torn apart by the conspiracies, with many people turning to the forum for advice on how to get their mother, lover or friends back. QAnon believers are also responsible for several acts of violence, including one murder, justified by their beliefs.
And then there’s the pandemic, too. QAnon — and with no thanks to Trump, who refused to denounce the conspiracy theorists — has promoted mask-wearing and social distancing into a question of freedom and anti-pedophilia: in the below video of a Utah anti-lockdown protest below, a woman says she doesn’t wear a mask because pedophiles do. Absolute brain-worms, and ones which would be funny if it wasn’t helping to actively spread the virus.
Jaw-dropping full report on Utah anti-mask protest. pic.twitter.com/lfpLj4cWkz
— Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@tommyxtopher) September 13, 2020
Back to Lee, who is concerned with QAnon’s ability to be picked up by new age, hippie types, who cherry-pick the issues they might be concerned with (‘wellness’, alternative health, anti-5G). As of late, wellness influencers have jumped on the QAnon train (most famously, Pete Evans), prompting Lee to repeatedly encourage wellness leaders to take a stand.
“I would like to make a public request to the leaders of new age/health and wellness industries to make clear their position in regards to the QAnon conspiracy theory/political cult,” he tweeted on September 8, before mentioning Eckhart Tolle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Deepak Chopra. “Your voices are needed.”
While it’s unlikely any of these three wellness giants will be challenged by Lee, he himself is a well-known proponent of wellness and new age spirituality, having spoken about both throughout his decades-spanning career, occasionally to insufferable levels, such as his 2013 conceptual album about taking Ayahuasca.
He’s also copped criticism for his own beliefs, in 2017 promoting doTERRA essential oils, which have been called a multi-level marketing scam by another name. In this sense, it’s a bold stance to say that new-age spirituality and yogis must speak out about QAnon, and it’s one he’s going all out on.
For the record, I’m a big NO to conspiracy theories, spiritual/self-help gurus, racism, paranoia and unchecked capitalism. Have a nice day!
— Ben Lee (@benleemusic) August 24, 2020
If you are a QAnon believer, I’d like to gently suggest picking up the book “Combatting Cult Mind Control” by Steven Hassan. It may not resonate, but theres no harm in giving it a read! Peace and love peace and love https://t.co/lrOboTIfb3
— Ben Lee (@benleemusic) September 13, 2020
On September 15, he congratulated Off The Matt Yoga for a six part Instagram slide against QAnon, which was part of a combined effort from wellness influencers to denounce QAnon theories.
“This is the moment to make clear your community will not be used as a funnel for paranoid, racist, anti-semitic theories,” he wrote.
He also called QAnon a cult, saying he has personal experience and can recognise the qualities — it’s not directly clear what this is referencing, though Lee has been involved in various new-age religious movements over the decades.
Hi QAnon I’ve been in a cult before and from experience I can see you are one love Ben
— Ben Lee (@benleemusic) September 15, 2020
Either way, Lee’s incessant Tweeting about the perils of QAnon is a welcome change from the route many celebrities and wellness advocates take. An unlikely hero, and one we’ll happily take.
Most recently, this June Lee released Golden State, his second album in collaboration with Josh Radnor — they also covered quarantine ‘hit’ “I Wonder What’s Inside Your Butthole”.