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Like Celebrity Gossip Site crazy days and nights went by on QAnon

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BuzzFeed News; Getty Images

It was early June and Penny Farthing had finally had enough.

“I’ve been a loyal reader of this site since 2008, but I’ve just had enough of the QAnon junk that’s been posted lately. The very first post I read was about Gary Busey trying to use gold doubloons as legitimate currency, and I would like more of it. “

The remark was posted on the celebrity gossip blog Crazy Days and Nights and distilled many readers’ frustration when scandalous tidbits of Hollywood intrigue were supplanted by what another longtime reader called “ridiculous QAnon horror stories from Twitter.”

The post Penny Farthing responded to was a blind article alleging that an actor forced his friend to join a “rape club” (commentators suspected he was referring to Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt). Another article was that Bill Gates used the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to test experimental new foods on people in developing countries. Several posts have accused Tom Hanks, a frequent Q target, of debauchery on a yacht owned by Hollywood mogul David Geffen. And an ongoing parade of blind objects describes how Hollywood stars abuse minors.

Since 2006, people have been coming to CDaN to buy blind items that range from true (Kaley Cuoco is divorced) to ridiculous (Beyoncé faked her pregnancies) to fantastic (Anna Wintour and Bob Marley had a secret baby together). The site has a well-deserved reputation for being both prescient and endlessly entertaining (this) a satanic cabal of Trump-hating, pedophile, greedy elites rules American politics and the media.

“I stopped reading when the Q stuff started,” Annie Tomlin, a former CDaN fan, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s really disturbing to see this right-wing conspiracy theory bullshit show up in the gossip.”

“I have no doubt whoever invented Q read my page at some point.”

Tomlin is hardly the only one who thinks that behind negative statements about celebrities on the political left – Chrissy Teigen, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro – there might be a strange political agenda. A poster to the pop culture forum Datalounge wrote: “The site is tailor-made for far-right, Hollywood haters and loudmouthed liberals with passion. Indeed, this is a common strategy used by the alt-right to raise allegations of pedophilia against any critic in order to destroy their credibility. “

Viewed through a political lens, QAnon is a far-right absurdity with a surreal and terrifying reach in the real world. But, viewed through a celebrity gossip lens, it makes a little more sense. Hollywood elites who engage in morally repulsive or taboo sex? Do you have no consequences for bad actions? Do you use their fame and money to silence those who might reveal their wrongdoings? This is practically conventional wisdom. Gossip fans and QAnoners share a core belief: that celebrities do unspeakable things behind closed doors.

Crazy Days and Nights may not be a hardcore Q dogma trade, but there is a Q dog whistle somewhere in the background if you listen to it. And, intentionally or not, it has made the longtime blog a favorite with actual QAnon followers, who see it as reinforcing their elaborate shared delusion.

And that’s not particularly surprising for Enty, the name under which the creator of CDaN publishes. “I have no doubt whoever invented Q read my website at some point,” he told BuzzFeed News.

Pretending to be an entertainment lawyer in Hollywood, Enty founded Crazy Days and Nights back in 2006. It never had the name of mid-year peers like Perez Hilton’s blog, but it has a loyal cult among gossip fans. Gen Z discovered the blog on TikTok where some creators went viral for discussing their blind item posts.

Blind articles are a form of gossip in which the actual name of the person is omitted and some details are obscured. It’s like a game: in the comments section, readers can guess who the celebrity might be. For example: “This foreign-born singer with a name on the A + list is about to release an album” (Adele). This mechanism is strangely similar to that of QAnon, in which a pseudonymous insider also posts cryptic messages about famous people.

Celebrity gossip historian Anne Helen Petersen (and former BuzzFeed News reporter) said it was not surprising that Crazy Days and Nights readers might also be following QAnon, and vice versa.

According to Petersen, blind item fans “think of gossip as a puzzle that they can solve. If you think of the people who love QAnon and devour these drops, they love that. It’s fun solving analytical puzzles, and that translates very easily from Save the Children or Q to Crazy Days and Nights. “

The problem is, there is a bad gap between the two. Celebrity gossip is usually harmless (though perhaps not for targeted celebrities) and is unlikely to encourage a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol. True Housewives fans probably wouldn’t wear a horned bearskin headdress or spear when visiting Congress.

“Enty was the best until he got the Q pill.”

But in the sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood, CDaN and Q found a common ground: the real or imagined crappy behavior of powerful men.

“After #MeToo, something strange happened when CDaN and old-school casting couch stuff that had always been at the core of CDaN crossed with QAnon,” said Troy McEady, co-host of the celebrity gossip podcast Behind the blinds. “And now they exist in the same world, so it has become difficult to find your way around.”

Too difficult for some.

“At some point the tone changed from silly blinds that celebs on set are awful or partying too hard or cheating to child abuse, sailing, sexual assault and QAnon,” a former reader told BuzzFeed News. “That’s when I stopped reading.”

Tara Giansporo was another former avid CDaN reader until she was put off by the site’s relocation towards conspiracy. “I felt like Enty had an agenda or value system that went beyond neutral coverage of celebrity jokes.”

Another former CDaN reader was more pointed in a comment they posted on Reddit: “Enty was the best until he got the Q pill.”

Screenshot via Crazy Days and Nights

Commentators on the blog guessing a blind article on child trafficking is about George Clooney.

Screenshot via Crazy Days and Nights

Crazy Days and Nights commentators who believe in some kind of cabal.

Enty vehemently denies this.

In an interview, the site’s pseudonymous author told BuzzFeed News that any appearance of a connection between QAnon and CDaN was a coincidence. If it seems like there have been a lot of articles about child robbers on the website, it may be because there are a lot of child robbers in Hollywood. And by the way, he said, the site has no political orientation. He usually passes on political tips and posts you “only if it’s about a celebrity or when it’s about someone both sides want to talk about, like Matt Gaetz”.

Enty has a more professional quill with QAnon: the quality of the drops. “What makes a good blind article is when you only have two or three choices, not 100,” he explained. “But with Q-Posts you could go in any direction with it.”

“I don’t believe in lizardmen, but I am ready to believe there is a cabal.”

Enty insists that he is not a Q follower, despite admitting to be familiar with the Q lore. (“Sure, I’ve seen a few. It wasn’t an everyday thing – it wasn’t like I had a warning on my phone.”) So any appearance that CDaN has become Q is more of a problem of overlapping worldviews. he said. For Crazy Days and Nights, Hollywood is a liberal gomorrah, full of extramarital sex, pedophilia, cult recruitment, gold diggers, drugs, rape, and the misdeeds of hypocritical virtuous stars. For the deluded QAnon, it’s pretty much the same.

“Everyone believes in a conspiracy theory,” said Mia Bloom, professor of communications and Middle Eastern studies at Georgia State University and co-author of Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnon. “People who are radical think in black and white tones. But at QAnon we see people saying, ‘OK, I don’t believe in lizardmen, but I’m ready to believe there is a cabal.’ “

Internet celebrity gossip requires its readers to be slightly conspiratorial – to believe anything is beyond what’s printed in Us Weekly. But Enty is more open to conspiracies than most – that’s how he built one of the most influential celebrity gossip sites on the internet. And maybe that’s why CDaN seems to have clashed with the QAnon craze: Maybe the instincts that make up a compelling celebrity gossip site are the same that make up a compelling political conspiracy. In the first place comes a forced gullibility.

“Do I think the moon landing was staged? No, ”said Enty. “But I am ready to listen to the arguments. I am ready to lead the discussion. It’s Buzz Aldrin who slaps you in the mouth when you say it’s a fake. ”●

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