Politics | March 21, 2021 6:30 am

Is the Guy Behind the Next QAnon a Berlin Art Dealer?

Inside the strange world of Sabmyk

Someone holding up a Q sign
A QAnon sign held aloft earlier this year.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

If you’d hoped that the inauguration of a new president might bring an end to the conspiracy theories that abounded and multiplied in the last year — QAnon especially — 2021 has some alarming news for you. Earlier this year, Newsweek reported on the growing popularity of Sabmyk, a disinformation network that’s becoming increasingly popular on messaging app Telegram and has reached out to QAnon adherents.

For its part, Facebook has taken to blocking accounts associated with Sabmyk. The Newsweek article described the network as focusing on “a messianic figure which is supposedly tied to the Bible’s Noah and the Atlantean sword of Shahnawaz.”

A new article at The Observer suggests that the network that could be QAnon’s successor might be stifled before it gets too far off the ground. Why? Hope Not Hate, an anti-racist and anti-fascist group, claims to have uncovered the identity of Sabmyk’s founder — which is where this story takes another surreal turn.

Hope Not Hate believes that the network was founded by 45-year-old artist and art dealer Sebastian Bieniek. The evidence the group has provided sounds convincing, beginning with Bieniek’s penchant for online conspiracies. An array of markings on Bieniek’s arm also matches a description of the messianic figure at the center of this new conspiracy theory.

In a 2015 interview with The Studio Visit, Bieniek made some comments about pop culture and the internet that take on a much different context now. “The internet pushes society to greediness of recognition,” Bieniek said. “It is also very dangerous if you believe that it means reality.” The same could be said for online conspiracy theories.

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