Elon Musk Joins Right-Wing Support For ‘QAnon Shaman’ Claiming Jan. 6 Footage ‘Misleading’


Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested Jacob Chansley—known as the “QAnon Shaman”—be freed from imprisonment in a tweet Friday evening, joining far-right figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene suddenly championing the January 6 rioter who was sentenced to over three years for storming the Capitol.

Key Facts

“Free Jacob Chansley,” Musk tweeted Friday while sharing a video that appears to show Chansley telling protestors at the Capitol to go home and remain peaceful, adding in a separate tweet that Chansley was sentenced to four years in prison “for a non-violent, police-escorted tour.”

The footage—released by Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this week—is “outrageous and false,” according to Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger, who said a claim that officers aided rioters while acting as “tour guides” is a “false allegation.”

A timeline of Chansley’s involvement in the attack on the Capitol was provided by the Justice Department in 2021, which says Chansley entered the Capitol through a broken door while part of a crowd that “was not lawfully authorized to enter or remain in the building,” noting Chansley was among the first 30 rioters to enter.

The timeline also includes Chansley’s interactions with officers, noting he entered the Senate alone and did not comply as officials asked him to leave the building.

Chansley pleaded guilty to federal charges of obstructing an official proceeding in September 2021 before he was sentenced to 41 months in prison two months later.

Crucial Quote

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement the footage broadcast by Carlson and Fox News “is not credible,” and that the White House agrees with Manger and others who “have condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution and the rule of law.”

Chief Critics

Musk joins far-right figures championing Chansley, including Greene, journalist Lara Logan, Dinesh D’Souza, Jack Posobiec and Randy Quaid, who said, “It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Any American that thinks Jacob Chansley should NOT be released is on the other side of that line and I never want to know you!” adding, “You are my enemy and Americas enemy!”


Footage released early on in the investigation clearly shows—as NBC’s Kyle Cheney tweeted—Chansley among the first protesters to breach the Capitol.

Key Background

Chansley is one of the most recognizable January 6 rioters, as he is seen in footage wearing a large bullhorn hat while shirtless and wielding a U.S. flag. Musk is one of many to suggest Chansley was wrongfully convicted and that the “public was misled” after Carlson—who was given access to 41,000 hours of security film—released previously unseen footage from the riot. Carlson unveiled portions of the footage Monday and said it “proves it was neither an insurrection nor deadly,” despite at least seven people dying in connection with the riots. Manger has continued to dispute the characterization of Capitol Police, explaining officers were severely outnumbered and attempted to de-escalate the rioters.

Further Reading

‘Tucker Carlson Is Not Credible’: White House Lashes Out Against Fox News For Jan. 6 Tapes (Forbes)

Capitol Police Chief Condemns Tucker Carlson’s January 6 Segment As ‘Offensive And Misleading’—With Support From McConnell (Forbes)

Elon Musk’s Political Shift: How The Billionaire Moved From Backing Obama To Endorsing DeSantis (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tylerroush/2023/03/11/elon-musk-joins-right-wing-support-for-qanon-shaman-claiming-jan-6-footage-misleading/