(Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc. terminated a manager in its technology department following an investigation into his role as the operator of the most prominent website dedicated to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Jason Gelinas had been placed on paid leave after he was identified on Sept. 10 by the fact-checking site Logically.ai as the operator of the website QMap.pub and its associated mobile apps.
“Mr. Gelinas is no longer employed by Citi,” the company said in a statement. “Our code of conduct includes specific policies that employees are required to adhere to, and when breaches are identified, the firm takes action.”
Citigroup’s code of conduct says employees seeking to engage in any outside business activity where they receive compensation have to disclose that information to managers before participating. Gelinas was earning more than $3,000 a month from a crowdfunded Patreon site dedicated to supporting the QAnon site, which he said helped cover the monthly operating costs.
Since Gelinas was identified, the QMap.pub website has been shut down and now provides links to an alternative website offering information on the QAnon conspiracy. QMap.pub served as an aggregator of “Q drops,” which are anonymous posts on the website 8kun by someone claiming to have a high-level government security clearance providing inside information.
The QAnon theory posits that President Donald Trump is battling a “deep state” ring of child-sex traffickers. Some adherents of QAnon are running for public office, but some others have committed violent acts or threatened violence, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Because 8kun is difficult to navigate and rife with other disturbing content, many people interested in QAnon instead use aggregators that collect and present the Q drops. QMap.pub became the most popular by offering user-friendly features like tags on posts to allow people to search more easily for themes.
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