Citigroup has fired a senior vice president in the bank’s technology department after probing his outside job running the most prominent website devoted to QAnon, a debunked yet popular conspiracy theory.
Jason Gelinas was put on paid leave in September after being identified as the person behind the site QMap.pub and related mobile apps. His role was first reported by Logically.ai, a fact-checking site.
“Mr. Gelinas is no longer employed by Citi. Our code of conduct includes specific policies that employees are required to adhere to, and when breaches are identified, the firm takes action,” a spokesperson for the bank told CBS MoneyWatch.
“As outlined in our code of conduct, employees are required to disclose and obtain approvals for outside business activities,” the spokesperson added.
It was hardly a typical side hustle, according to media accounts of Gelinas’s alleged moonlighting. The former Citi executive is credited with helping transform an obscure and incoherent conspiracy cult into one affecting mainstream politics, with QAnon supporter and Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greenein the U.S. House of Representatives.
Popular among a group of supporters of President Donald Trump, theincludes claims that celebrities routinely participate in child sex trafficking and pedophilia. At its center is “Q,” an anonymous user who started writing about the conspiracies on website 4chan.
Gelinas was raking in more than $3,000 monthly from a crowdfunded Patreon site dedicated to supporting the QAnon site, which he said helped cover its operating costs, according to Bloomberg News.
Along with his Wall Street job and running QAnon’s largest news-aggregation hub, Gelinas lived what appeared to be a normal suburban life, with a house, wife and children in New Jersey, according to the business news service.
- Citigroup has fired an employee who ran a website dedicated to QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory alleging that President Donald Trump is fighting a cabal of human traffickers.
- Jason Gelinas, a New Jersey employee of the company, was previously put on paid leave when Logically.ai reported that he operated QMap.pub, a main aggregator of “Q drops,” the messages that are the foundation of the conspiracy theory.
- Gelinas’ QAnon website earned 10 million monthly visitors, according to the analytics firm SimilarWeb.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Citigroup has fired an employee who ran a popular website dedicated to the QAnon conspiracy theory, Bloomberg News first reported on Tuesday.
Jason Gelinas, a New Jersey man who worked at Citigroup as an information technology specialist, operated the website QMap.pub, which recently earned 10 million average monthly views, according to data from SimilarWeb, a digital analytics firm.
A spokesperson for Citigroup told Insider, “Mr. Gelinas is no longer employed by Citi. Our code of conduct includes specific policies that employees are required to adhere to, and when breaches are identified, the firm takes action.”
QAnon — the baseless far-right conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a “deep state” cabal of satanic pedophiles — is based on cryptic messages left by an anonymous figure called “Q” on 8kun, an anonymous message board formerly known as 8chan.
Gelinas had previously been put on paid leave after the fact-checking website Logically.ai reported his ties to QAnon on September 10. The website was taken down soon after the publication of the Logically.ai report.
It’s also possible that Gelinas had ties to 8kun, as the two websites shared an IP address, according to research by Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8chan.
QMap.pub aggregated “Q drops,” or the anonymous posts by “Q,” and spread