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How A South Carolina Mom Pulled Herself Out Of Qanon Rabbit Hole

Ashley Vanderbilt described her panic as Joe Biden was sworn in.
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Alysin Camerota described how one South Carolina mom who became a Qanon follower actually feared that she and her daughter "would have to go into hiding after President Biden took office because of all the disinformation she fell for. Then, her Qanon fever broke and she came to her senses. Donie O'Sullivan joins us with her story. Tell us what happened, her whole trajectory."

"Many followers of Qanon still believe this conspiracy theory, but we spoke to one woman who voted for Trump in November but recently just realized Qanon is a lie. Have a listen," O'Sullivan said.

When President Biden was sworn in, I was crying. That ugly cry that you do. It kept going. Oh my gosh. I'm seeing the funeral of our country. Instantly, I went into panic mode. I had to call my mom. 'We're all going to die. We're going to be owned by China. I might have to pull my daughter out of school because they're going to take her. I was scared to death.

Vaderbilt explains how she started seeing conspiracy theories on TikTok.

I just thought it was -- they were telling me something that nobody else knew. Then I'd reach out to different friends of mine that were bigger Trump supporters. I would say, you know, I saw this on TikTok, what do you think? And they'd start sending me YouTube videos, different Facebook Live videos, and one thing led to another. I went down this rabbit hole learning all this stuff. What have we heard the last four, five years? Don't watch the news. I don't watch the news. I don't read newspapers. I've always been someone that you just tell me what to do, and I do it. I grew up being told we were Republican so I've always been that straight red ticket.

"Before the inauguration, you didn't think Joe Biden was going to get sworn in," O'Sullivan said.

I expected a blackout and nothing to work so we wouldn't see anything. The assumption would be that most of the Democratic leaders there, quite a few of the Republican leaders, all the Hollywood elite that attended, they'd all be arrested. The military is going to haul them off. They said that Trump opened back up Guantanamo Bay and the military would run the country, put us in martial law because the left had become too unhinged and would become a danger to us and Trump would come back when the government was rebuilt. I know it sounds crazy.

"How do you feel now, knowing that you believed all this stuff?"

It's weird. A lot of time this year isolated from everybody. I lost my job last April in 2020, and I was super depressed. And i think in a way, I probably lost touch with a little bit of reality in that -- almost that common sense. And so I am not so much embarrassed for what I believed, but I mean, I feel foolish. Stressed out all the time so my home life with my 4-year-old, I feel I had a lot less patience with her. There would be times where I'd just snap and get so upset with her. So I've apologized to her a lot for, 'I'm sorry for even getting hateful toward you. It's not you. It's me. I've got my own stuff going on.

"After finding Qanon through TikTok, Ashley said the only thing that may have pulled her out of it before the inauguration was if Trump spoke out against it," O'Sullivan said.

I was the biggest Trump supporter there was. If he were to have said something, and if he were to just say, 'Q is illegitimate. nothing is real in there,' I think some people would leave. Maybe not all the people, but I think it would have helped a lot. I thought the world of him. If he said, that's not real, I'm not coming back, it is over, I would have believed him.
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