Elon Musk’s latest project: Defending the QAnon Shaman and his role on Jan. 6

With Teslas Competition(Opens in a new tab) heat up, a impossible to-Meeting the Neuralink Deadline, and refuel(Opens in a new tab) Twitter revenue, you’d think Elon Musk has his hands full. But fresh from publicly humiliating a respected former employee and questioning the worker’s disability, Musk has taken on a new project.

Last day, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX took to Twitter to defend Jacob Chansley, better known as The QAnon Shaman. Chansely is one of the most iconic figures from the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol, where he and thousands of others attempted to overturn the results of the presidential election and declare Donald Trump the winner.

“Free Jacob Chansley”, Musk tweeted(Opens in a new tab) on Friday about the right-wing conspiracy theorist who joined the pro-Trump mob as he broke into the Capitol.


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Musk attached a video to his post showing Chansley in his now infamous QAnon Shaman outfit, complete with face paint, horned helmet and fur hat. In the video, Chansley reads a Trump tweet from the end of the day on Jan. 6 telling his supporters to leave the Capitol and go home. In the clip, Chansley announces that he will comply with Trump’s request.

In another tweet, Musk shared an additional clip that aired on Fox News Tucker Carlson tonight this shows Chansley following the Capitol Police as he enters the Senate.

“Chansley got 4 years in prison for nonviolent police escorted tour!?” Musk called(Opens in a new tab) in the tweet, which repeats the same language used by the Fox News host in the clip. “Dave Chapelle was violently attacked on stage by a guy with a knife. This guy got a $3,000 fine and no jail time.”

Musk continued his defense of Chansley in responses to other Twitter users.

“Chansley was misrepresented in the media as a violent criminal attempting to overthrow the state and encouraging others to engage in violence,” tweeted(Opens in a new tab) Musk. “But here he is urging people to be peaceful and go home.”

“Capitol Police literally opened the door of the Senate chambers for him on camera!” Musk said in another Answer(Opens in a new tab) about how the video was fact checked on Instagram. “But who are you going to believe, Instagram’s ‘fact checkers’ or your own lying eyes?”

Musk’s latest statements on Jan. 6 come after Republicans, who now control the House of Representatives, provided Fox News’ Carlson with hours of unseen security camera footage. The presenter has shown several segments over the past week showing footage of moments when the pro-Trump mob, who that day broke down doors and windows to enter the Capitol, were shuffling around the building and not actively violent was in the moment.


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However, like Carlson, Musk misrepresented what happened in front of his audience of more than 130 million Twitter followers.

Much of what is seen in this footage was previously rendered via clips recorded by people inside the building and was in the public domain. The month after the January 6 riot, Capitol Police examined(Opens in a new tab) Dozens of officers due to footage shared on social media showing cops escorting and assisting the rioters.

While Chansley’s eccentric costume certainly defined the media coverage around him, he was one of the first to enter the building that day. in one Video(Opens in a new tab) Chansley, shown at his trial, is seen with the group smashing windows in the Capitol. He is also seen stepping through one of the doors that was broken into. In addition, Chansley left a “threatening(Opens in a new tab)“Letter for then-Vice President Mike Pence in the Capitol.

The “invisible” video of Chansley telling rioters to go home at Trump’s behest has also long been accessible online. In fact, Rep. Diana DeGette stepped in just a month after the Capitol was stormed filming(Opens in a new tab) of Chansley’s reading of Trump’s tweet into the Congressional Records to show that then-President Trump was able to control the mob and could have ended the riots sooner if he had wanted to.

Additionally filming(Opens in a new tab) Chansley reciting Trump’s tweet was played at a Jan. 6 hearing last summer. This moment was also captured in the final report(Opens in a new tab) by the Committee of January 6th.

Chansley eventually pleaded guilty in November 2021 to “one count of obstructing an official proceeding,” a crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison. The man known as the QAnon Shaman is currently serve a 41-month prison sentence. Contrary to Musk’s claims, it was also the man who tried to stab comedian Dave Chappelle sentenced(Opens in a new tab) 270 days in prison.

Musk appeared to retract his earlier, more positive statements about the QAnon shaman’s innocence in his last tweet late Friday.

“Yes, I agree he should get a non-zero sentence, but four years in prison is too much for a nonviolent crime,” Musk said tweeted(Opens in a new tab) in reply to another user.

But by Saturday morning, Musk was back on board with his original statements, even deriding an earlier interview by Chansley in which he claimed he blocked his fellow Trump campaigners from doing so steal cupcakes in the Capitol building.

“let him out” called(Opens in a new tab) Musk. “This shaman/muffin guard obviously won’t overthrow the state.”


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