MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Five candidates are fighting to become mayor of Myrtle Beach, but one candidate, Gene Ho, has talked in the past about the conspiracy theory called QAnon.
Watch Matt Fortin’s special report on News13 at 6.
In an audio clip provided to News13 of a 2019 QAnon rally in front of the Washington Monument, photographer and now-candidate Ho can be heard speaking to a crowd.
“It’s you illuminati b****** that has taken America.”
“They take us Q believers and they make us into tinfoil hat wearing people. That’s not the truth. We here in the Q community, we are the ones with the beautiful families. We’re the ones here with the businesses.”
A photo of the event shows him perched on a stage in front of a giant “Q” and hashtags like MKUltra and Pedogate.
“Q has woken us up,” Ho can be heard telling the crowd. “Q has made us alive again. Q has taught us to think for ourselves.”
Ho has found success over the years with his Grand Strand photography business, having worked with everyone from the WBTW team to former president Donald Trump. Ho is proud to share that in appearances around the country, including at QAnon events.
QAnon is a conspiracy theory alleging that the world is run by satan-worshipping pedophiles and former president Donald Trump was fighting them.
“It’s not Republican necessarily as being pro-Republican,” said Pope “Mac” McCorkle, a professor of the practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. “It’s anti-Democratic. It’s not about disagreeing on issues. They see the liberals and Democrats as truly their sworn enemies. Really enemies of god.”
The FBI earlier this year said some QAnon followers will likely disengage from the movement since Trump left office and the failure of promised QAnon events to happen. It warned though, some domestic violent extremist followers of QAnon may change from serving as digital soldiers to real-world violence.
McCorkle said although QAnon followers are a small minority, they have the potential to have an influence on the political scene.
“When you get to these elections when there are these low turnout elections they start to really matter in the Republican party,” McCorkle said.
Ho’s campaign finance disclosure shows “Q Con Live” paid him $1,000 for a speaking engagement in October 2020. The Q-Con Live website says it brings together “Freedom loving patriots — including followers and influencers of the Q movement,” among others.
At that event, Ho mainly spoke about working with Trump and promoted his book — different than his 2019 rally appearance in Washington, D.C. where he mentioned Adrenochrome, a chemical some QAnon followers believe the “elite” harvest from children’s blood to use as a drug.
“Q has mentioned blood 17 times in his post, you can check it out later,” Ho said at the event. “This whole thing of what we’re doing is all about blood. Q says constantly you check the bloodlines. We know they’ve been misusing blood with their Adrenochrome and all this stuff. Ultimately what this is about, it’s about blood and it’s about blood from our lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
A look at Ho’s donor list shows supporters from across the country, pitching in to his bid for Myrtle Beach Mayor.
Ho has spoken on local issues he says he’d prioritize as mayor, including limiting government to help small businesses.
“Get out of the way of small businesses,” Ho said. “Say, we’re going to leave you alone.”
He’s also talked about a crackdown on crime.
“I’m going to go downtown, look at the drug dealers in their eye and say you got 45 days to get out of here,” Ho said.
During a News13 debate, Bob Juback asked Ho about his relationship with QAnon.
“I spent the last two and three years on a book tour,” Ho said. “During that time I probably did about 150 to 200 events. Out of those events, three, maybe two or three were QAnon events. I’ll tell you what. The Q community are some of the most nicest people that I know of and I love them, but the thing is to attribute the whole belief system of everything based upon two or three events that I did, I think is stretching.”
Despite multiple requests from News13, Ho and his team didn’t agree to be interviewed or to comment on this story.