Ronald Watkins is an American conspiracy theorist and site administrator of the imageboard website 8chan. He has played a major role in spreading the discredited far-right QAnon conspiracy theory and has promulgated baseless conspiracy theories that widespread election fraud led to Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. He is the son of Jim Watkins, the owner, and operator of 8chan. Some journalists and researchers believe that one or both of the Watkins know the identity of, or are themselves, “Q”, the person or group of people behind QAnon.
Watkins served as site administrator for 8chan since 2016. He announced he had resigned in November 2020, though some have questioned the veracity of his resignation.
The estimated net worth of Ron Watkins is approximated at $500K USD.
Life and Family
Watkins was born in 1987 or 1988. His father, Jim Watkins, is a former member of the United States Army. Ron grew up moving often because of his father’s military service. Ron’s mother, Ton Sun Watkins, is from South Korea. Ron’s parents met when his father was stationed there. They divorced when Watkins was a teenager, at which point Watkins began to live mostly with his mother.
Watkins spent his high school years in Mukilteo, Washington. It’s where he lived for the longest period during his childhood. He attended Kamiak High School, where he was active in choir and theater, and graduated in 2005.
8chan, also called 8kun, is an imageboard website. It has been linked to white supremacism, neo-Nazism, the alt-right, racism, and antisemitism, hate crimes, and multiple mass shootings. It was home to the proponents of the Gamergate controversy beginning in 2014, and in 2018 became a central part of the QAnon conspiracy theory when “Q”, the anonymous figure claiming to be a high-level government official with Q clearance, began exclusively using 8chan to post their messages.
In 2014, after seeing an Al Jazeera America documentary about 8chan creator Fredrick Brennan, Watkins told his father, Jim Watkins, about Brennan. The imageboard had recently taken off in popularity after it was adopted by proponents of the Gamergate controversy. Brennan was having trouble keeping up with server costs. The elder Watkins contacted Brennan to offer a partnership, and in 2014, Brennan moved to Manila in the Philippines to work for him. In 2014, Jim Watkins became the official owner and operator of 8chan. Ron Watkins began working on the site every day. Brennan remained the site administrator until 2016, at which time he relinquished the role. Watkins took up the position later.
Watkins was responsible for the creation of a cryptocurrency through which 8chan posters can pay to have their posts listed prominently through a program called “King of the Shekel”.
Resignation from 8chan
On November 3, 2020, the day of the United States presidential election, Watkins announced on Twitter that he was resigning his position as the site administrator. He told journalists he wanted to spend more time woodworking and writing a book about constitutional law. Ron’s resignation has been described as “abrupt”. Some have questioned the veracity of his resignation. Conspiracy theory researcher Julian Feeld said, “His ‘departure’ from 8kun is highly suspect and possibly just a PR move more than anything else”. It allows him more freedom as a right-wing operative, specifically around the various voter fraud conspiracy theories.