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Caesars drops controversial QAnon-linked convention

Updated August 31, 2021 - 4:34 pm

One of the biggest resort companies in the U.S. has dropped a controversial QAnon-linked convention that was slated to come to Las Vegas in October.

The Patriot Voice, a group closely linked with the QAnon movement, was scheduled to hold the For God & Country Patriot Double Down event from Oct. 22-25 at the Caesars Forum convention space near the Strip, with tickets selling for $650 to $3,000.

The event’s registration page now says that the ticketing system is “temporarily offline.” Caesars Entertainment confirmed Tuesday that it is no longer hosting the event at any of its properties.

“We can confirm that the Patriot Double Down will no longer be held at Caesars Entertainment properties,” Caesars spokeswoman Kate Whiteley said in an email Tuesday.

Extremism experts had raised concerns in recent weeks about a major resort company such as Caesars hosting the event, expressing worries about it further spreading the group’s strong anti-mask and anti-vaccine beliefs. The group’s registration page refers to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “plandemic,” a reference to discredited claims that Dr. Anthony Fauci created the coronavirus to gain power and profit off the vaccine.

Caesars said previously that events held at its facilities “are not indicative of the company’s views, nor are they an endorsement of any group or organization.” The company also said that all guests at the event would have to comply with any mandates in place, including mask requirements.

The company said Tuesday that it would not comment further on the event.

Similar event in Dallas

The event is organized by The Patriot Voice, a group associated with the online alias “QAnon John,” who has been promoting the event on his Telegram channel that has more than 56,000 subscribers and has referred to the group as “our organization, The Patriot Voice.” According to the Dallas Observer, QAnon John is John Sabal, who along with his wife, Amy, organized a similar QAnon event in Dallas in May.

The 40-second video posted on the event’s website this month was full of Q messaging and references to its conspiracy theories, even calling the event the “Great Awakening Weekend,” which refers to the QAnon belief that former President Donald Trump will expose a group of supposed Satan-worshipping, pedophile cannibals and declare martial law.

The promotional video, which has since been removed, also included “The Punisher” comic book icon that is used as a QAnon recruitment tool, and the words “Where we go one, we go all” appear on a playing card, a phrase that has become a rallying cry for Q followers. It included a brief image of Caesars Palace, but with a large, golden “Q” replacing the iconic Caesars emblem.

In Dallas, a similar sequence played out with the original host venue, Gilley’s Dallas, dropping the event after public backlash.

Marchant withdraws

While it’s unclear where, or even if, the event will be held in Las Vegas after being dropped by Caesars, at least one of its speakers has also pulled out.

Former state Assemblyman and announced Republican candidate for secretary of state Jim Marchant confirmed Tuesday that he no longer plans to speak at the event. Marchant was no longer listed as one of the event’s “honorary guests” as of Tuesday.

“I just felt that it’s in my best interest not to,” Marchant said, adding that the decision was made after discussions with his consultants, who advised him against speaking.

Marchant said he informed the event’s organizers of his decision in recent weeks and that there were no other conversations with them about it.

In an email last month, Marchant said that he was “not really worried about speaking at this event.”

“My goal is to get in front of as many Nevadans as I can as a candidate for Secretary of State. And I think there will be a lot of people at this event based on the history of events like this,” Marchant said.

Marchant also said in that email that he did not know what QAnon is. On Tuesday, he said he had not done any additional research into the group or its conspiracy beliefs.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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