Oliver Anthony, real name Christopher Lunsford, made waves when a number of conservative influencers shared his video for “Rich Men North of Richmond” on Aug. 10 on Twitter.
The lyrics in his hit song have earned him plaudits as a working-class hero, where he calls out Washington, D.C. and the government for making life for the common man worse.
“It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to, for people like me and people like you, wish I could just wake up and it not be true,” he sings.
But the allusions in the song to Jeffery Epstein’s private island—“I wish politicians would look out for miners/And not just minors on an island somewhere”—have raised eyebrows.
Anthony explained in a video introducing himself that he believed that pedophilia was “becoming normalized,” a dog whistle in far-right QAnon circles, which believe former President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of Democratic sex perverts.
That doesn’t seem to be the only conspiracy theory he’s interested in.
One of the singer’s public playlists on his YouTube channel, “videos to make your noggin get bigger,” contains several videos that promote 9/11 trutherism and COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
There is a video that features Richard Gage, the founder of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, speculating about the financial benefactors from the Twin Towers’ collapse.
A California-based architect, Gage, has spent years trying to share debunked “technical evidence” showing that the towers were destroyed by controlled demolition, an inside job the CIA is often accused of being behind.
Gage cites an elevator repair job in the Twin Towers in advance of the attack, claiming the company behind the job had “plausible cover” to plant explosives in the building.
Two other videos contained news clips from ABC and FOX News at the time discussing the “dancing Israeli” conspiracy theory.
One of the videos was from a dedicated 9/11 truther channel.
These news clips investigated the arrests of five Israelis who were alleged at the time to have helped orchestrate the attacks—possibly by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad—and who were then deported.
The Anti-Defamation League notes that these news clips are still shared in antisemitic Telegram channels as propaganda to this day. There’s been no proof Israel was involved in 9/11, despite numerous accusations.
Another video from a health influencer talks about the dangers of the mRNA vaccine, and launders conspiracy materials from Aseem Malhotra, a celebrity cardiologist in the U.K. who has repeatedly used his credentials to spread false or misleading information about COVID vaccines.
The BBC was criticized last January for letting him “hijack” a live news segment on stents to talk about COVID.
These videos appear alongside Jordan Peterson lectures, clips from Joe Rogan, another COVID-19 conspiracy video, and an hour-long video of a potato chip spinning 360 degrees to the song “Funkytown.”
The musician has only shared a few of his own clips to his YouTube, TikTok, and Soundcloud channels since 2021. But his lack of online presence didn’t hinder his meteoric rise.
His song currently sits first on the iTunes downloads chart despite the internet only becoming aware of him five days ago. Two of his other song, “Aint Gotta Dollar” and “Ive Got to Get Sober,” are numbers two and three.
The Daily Dot reached out to Lunsford for comment.
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*First Published: Aug 15, 2023, 2:01 pm CDT
Ernie Piper is an investigative journalist that writes about conspiracy theories, digital culture, and travel. He grew up in Alaska, lived in Istanbul for a long time, and now lives in London. He works as an editor at Logically.