A survivor of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting told Vice News his father has fallen deep into the QAnon rabbit hole and now believes the massacre that killed 17 people at his school was fake.
The 18-year-old was part of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s final graduating class of survivors of the mass shooting. He spoke to Vice News anonymously, under the alias Bill, after sharing his story on a Reddit thread dedicated to supporting friends and family of QAnon followers. He said he wanted to protect his identity out of concern over attacks by conspiracy theorists.
Bill said his father believes the shooting that killed nine of his classmates was a hoax and that the shooter, Bill and his classmates were “paid pawns in a grand conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force,” Vice reported.
Bill’s father got caught up in conspiracy theories a couple of months into the coronavirus pandemic, when anti-lockdown protests were taking place, he said.
“His feelings were so strong it turned into facts for him. So if he didn’t like having to wear masks it wouldn’t matter what doctors or scientists said,” he told Vice. “Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong. So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon.”
Those beliefs took a turn in January, when Bill’s father saw footage of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) harassing Parkland shooting survivor and gun safety activist David Hogg in 2018.
Greene has shown support for conspiracy theories that Parkland and other school shootings were “false flag” operations to push for stricter gun laws. She’s also a follower of QAnon, the absurd conspiracy theory movement that has radicalized Americans and torn families apart, especially during the pandemic.
Since seeing the video of Greene, Bill’s father has reportedly become convinced that the school shooting was a hoax.
Bill plans to move away from home now that he’s 18. Though he’s found support from others in the QAnon Casualties Reddit community, he said, he has been unable to bring himself to speak with his fellow survivors about what he’s been going through at home.
He doesn’t feel his relationship with his father can ever be repaired. “I don’t know how to help someone that far gone,” he told Vice.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.