Telegram's latest influencer is too out there even for QAnon

Michael Brian Protzman, aka Negative48, is building a death cult within a death cult from the comfort of a Hyatt Hotel.

A woman shouts as she holds a placard reading "Q Army" (a reference to the Q-anon movement), during ...

Apparently, even QAnon followers have their limits. Multiple outlets have begun reporting on an alarmingly extreme subsect led by Michael Brian Protzman, an antisemitic Nazi sympathizer with a history of domestic abuse who recently convinced an unsettling number of adherents to head to Dallas, Texas, last month to witness the second coming of JFK and his son. It didn’t exactly go as prophesied, but many are reportedly still lingering in the area, and regularly convene at a local Hyatt Hotel conference room referred to as “The Ark” to plot their next moves.

While Protzman’s sub-genre of conspiratorial derangement has even earned the scorn of major figures within the QAnon community, alternative social media apps like Telegram enable him to still reach a receptive audience. There, he preaches corrupted Kabbalistic numerology, eschatological rants, and literal celebrity worship. One Telegram channel dedicated to Protzman’s dangerous ramblings counts nearly 96,000 subscribers; another reaches over 21,000 readers.

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QAnon ‘traditionalists’ are unamused — Protzman’s splinter cell is one of the latest, and more extreme, in the right-wing conspiracy echo chamber. “That Dallas meet up organized by Negative 48 just made our entire movement look unbelievably dumb, and naive,” prominent QAnon conspiracy influencer John “QAnon John” Sabal wrote on Telegram last month shortly after publications began roasting Negative48’s Dallas debacle. “[He is] making ridiculous, and grandiose claims that would NEVER come to pass. Do you see why this kind of thing is SUPER DANGEROUS to the movement???”

Sabal and others have posited on multiple occassions that Protzman may also be a Deep State agent aiming to tarnish the larger QAnon movement’s reputation. Meanwhile, Trump sycophant and Q celebrity, Lin Wood, is waging an all-out war against perceived enemies within the community, including his now-rival, disgraced Gen. Michael Flynn.

Real-world consequences — Protzman and the larger QAnon cult may seem absurd, but these figures are still responsible for extremely tragic consequences. Countless families have been torn apart due to brainwashed members isolating themselves, and the continued assaults on objective facts are what give way to deadly events like the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection attempt. While a relatively small subsect of the QAnon world, Protzman’s Negative48 goals could easily veer towards violence, either towards the greater public or within his own pseudocult. Unfortunately, they have ample tools to get their message across thanks to apps like Parler, Gab, and Telegram.