John McAfee’s Instagram posts ‘Q’ image minutes after his death is reported

Image published minutes after news reports detailing his death

John Bowden
Thursday 24 June 2021 11:45 BST
Related video: McAfee found dead in cell after Spanish court allows extradition

An Instagram account belonging to cybersecurity entrepreneur John McAfee posted a plain image of the letter “Q”, an apparent reference to the “QAnon” conspiracy theory, on Wednesday minutes after it was reported by multiple news organizations that Mr McAfee had been found dead by apparent suicide in his Spanish prison cell.

The post, which depicts a black, capital-letter “Q” on a white background, went up less than a half hour after English-language news services began reporting Mr McAfee’s death.

Mr McAfee’s death came after he received the news on Wednesday that his extradition to the US had been granted, where he was set to face charges of tax evasion. Catalan authorities said that his death appeared to be a suicide.

He faced a possible sentence of more than two decades in prison had he been convicted of the US tax charges, which stemmed from claims that he did not file tax returns between 2014 and 2018.

The QAnon conspiracy theory, which emerged under former President Donald Trump’s term in the White House, speculated that the former president was waging a secret war against a global cabal of cannibalistic, Satan-worshipping Democratic pedophiles. The bizarre theory found believers among a sizable chunk of the former president’s fanbase throughout the 2020 election, and still remains prevalent today.

Mr McAfee himself was no stranger to conspiracy theories before his death and his Instagram account in 2019 posted an altered image depicting himself standing in front of Jeffrey Epstein, the multi-millionaire and convicted sex offender who was found dead in a Manhattan prison cell earlier that year, with authorities blaming suicide.

“I never said Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. I said he didn't commit suicide. Not the same. Could be alive. Could have never existed. Maybe murdered. I dunno. I only know he didn't commit suicide,” Mr McAfee wrote in that photo’s caption.

Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory were seen among the supporters of Mr Trump who stormed the US Capitol earlier this year in an attempt to block the certification of his election defeat.

Despite the court’s ruling on Wednesday, Mr McAfee’s extradition to the US was not a certain prospect at the time of his death. The Spanish Council of Ministers had yet to approve his transfer to the US, and he remained able to appeal the decision.

A political gadfly and outspoken libertarian, Mr McAfee ran for president unsuccessfully in 2020, failing to capture the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

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