Mesa Community College has fired an English professor who promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory during class hours, a spokesperson confirmed.
Douglas Belmore stopped teaching at Mesa Community college in August after Phoenix New Times reported that he showed his students a 14-minute-long video about QAnon, a conspiracy theory whose adherents believe that a cabal of satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles runs the world.
Believers of QAnon say President Donald Trump is secretly working to undermine the fictional conspiracy, which they believe involves the Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, John McCain, George Soros, possibly Beyonce, and other major political figures.
According to two students, Belmore told his students on the first day of class that he believes President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was a “false flag.” He also told students that Kennedy is “Q,” an anonymous internet personality who has shared clues about the conspiracy theory on the toxic message board 4chan.
Dawn Zimmer, a spokesperson for the college, confirmed to New Times that Belmore was fired. She declined to discuss additional details about his termination, including when it occurred.
“According to my understanding, his services were no longer needed,” Zimmer said.
Though he did not respond to request for comment, Belmore also confirmed his firing on Twitter. “At Mesa College, I shared Q w/ a class. I was fired,” he wrote on Sunday.
A first-year student enrolled in Belmore’s English composition class said a substitute instructor started teaching her class on August 27. She requested anonymity over fear of retaliation from Belmore.
The student said an English faculty member addressed her class after New Times published its story on Belmore. The faculty member told students he couldn’t say for certain how long the substitute instructor would be teaching them.
She said the substitute teacher is “much better” than Belmore. “Still jokes and gets a little side-tracked (who doesn’t lol), but always gets back on topic,” the student said in a text message. “We have our first essay outline due tomorrow.”
New Times spoke with four students in August who said Belmore spent a significant portion of their classes talking about QAnon and its relation to the mainstream media, pornography, and human trafficking. One student described Belmore’s teaching style as “just babbling, basically.” Another student said Belmore’s class was “chill” because he “goes over quizzes,” but also “weird” because “you have politics being spouted at you for an hour instead of being taught actual English stuff.”
When New Times approached Belmore in his classroom after the end of a period, he answered every question with a question of his own. “Who is Q?”