Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk called for the release of Jan. 6 defendant Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” in response to a newly released video of the Capitol breach.
“Free Jacob Chansley,” the world’s richest person, who has 131 million followers on Twitter, wrote in a Twitter post on Friday.
Chansley was found guilty and jailed for conspiracy charges related to the Capitol breach that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021, and he was later sentenced to 41 months in prison on November 2021.
Chansley received arguably the most spotlight among those who participated in the breach, famous for his distinct look with face paint and a horned hat, as well as for his self-described affiliation with the QAnon movement.
Musk’s tweet was a response to a video posted on Twitter by political strategist Chuck Callest. The clip shows Chansley standing at an entrance of the Capitol building, calling everyone to go home.
While the video doesn’t show a timestamp, it was likely filmed soon after former President Donald Trump posted a video on Twitter on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, telling the protestors to “go home.”
“Donald Trump has asked everybody to go home. So what are we going to do? We are going to obey our president, and do as he asked and we are going to go home,” Chansley said in the video, speaking through a megaphone.
“Let’s get out of here, guys,” he said.
In another follow-up post on the same day, Musk clarified that he is not a part of the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) movement—an ideology centered on America-first principles popularized by Trump—but rather is speaking from a point of fairness.
“I’m not part of MAGA, but I do believe in fairness of justice,” Musk wrote, “Chansley was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the state and who urged others to commit violence. But here he is urging people to be peaceful and go home. And the other video shows him calmly walking in the Capitol building, being escorted by officers and then thanking the officers.”
Elon is part of the MAGA MOVEMENT!— MatthewJshow (@MatthewJshow) March 10, 2023
In another post on the same day, he compared Chansley’s sentence with that of a person who assaulted comedian Dave Chapelle.
“Chansley got 4 years in prison for a non-violent, police-escorted tour!? Dave Chapelle was violently assaulted on stage by a guy with a knife. That guy got a $3000 fine & no prison time,” Musk wrote.
By Gary Bai