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Extremism + 2 more

Barrington Library Board Candidate Chase Heidner is Deep Into QAnon

Heidner and her partner Benjamin Jinno, who shared on social media that he was at the January 6 Capitol riot, have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on their frequently suspended conspiracy theorist TikTok accounts.

by Jinx Press Collective Mar 30, 2023

Heidner and Jinno in front of a TPUSA backdrop (from Jinno's Instagram)
Heidner and partner Benjamin Jinno, known on TikTok as bluecollarben, at an Arizona Turning Point USA event in December 2022. 

Pizzagate. Adrenochrome. Hunter Biden’s laptop. 28-year old Chase Heidner is well-versed in them all. The Barrington Area Library Board of Trustees candidate admits she is new to electoral politics, but an illustrious social media history reveals she is far from new to extremism. 

A publicly accessible Google Doc previously linked on one of her TikTok accounts outlines her personal “research” into a long list of false child sex abuse allegations involving celebrities and politicians. Titled “Research on the Deep State,” it includes alleged subliminal messages in the social media and music videos of musician Justin Bieber

A list of PedoGate/PizzaGate conspiracy theory YouTube links
A screenshot from Heidner’s 11 page child sex abuse conspiracy theory research document.

Heidner’s partner Benjamin Jinno, who recently relocated to Barrington from Baltimore, has been spotted with her at area board meetings. He has maintained a much larger TikTok following, with at least four accounts confirmed to be his proliferating over the last three years. Like Heidner, he has frequently faced social media suspensions for violating content moderation rules. 

Heidner’s main TikTok account is currently set to private. She and Jinno both began scrubbing and locking down their feeds around the time she announced her candidacy for library trustee. But in a stitch recorded with another user, she elaborates on the 2020-era Bieber pizzagate conspiracy theory popular with QAnon followers:

“If you haven’t looked into pizzagate yet, I suggest that you do,” Heidner says in the original video. “Because I have a crapload more evidence from where this came from.”

A screengrab of a response made by another user to Heidner's pizzagate TikTok video
A 2020 TikTok video received nearly 349,000 views. 

Community members in Barrington have repeatedly called out the extremists in their midst attempting to push book bans and disrupt public education by weaponizing false narratives of child sex abuse. Across the country, “groomer panic” has led to relentless attacks on librarians, often framed haphazardly by mainstream outlets as a “culture war” rather than a coordinated right-wing media op

In 2022, one book challenge in Barrington came to a head, with the district 220 board voting to keep Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir Gender Queer in the school catalogue. A few months after the vote, the district superintendent resigned

Heidner’s candidacy is situated against a backdrop of increasingly violent rhetoric against educators—including a September 2022 incident in Downers Grove, where the library received a bullet in the mail.

In another stitch with a different TikTok account, she whispers into the camera, “They’re everywhere. They’re everywhere within our government, they’re everywhere within Hollywood.”

“It’s in the media. Education system, dude, it doesn’t end.”

The library board candidate has also been featured on partner Benjamin Jinno’s account. In one video, the pair discuss a long list of their favorite “conspiracy files.”

“That’s the one about how the government and corporations are teaming up to infiltrate every single one of our institutions in order to subvert American culture and enslave all of humanity,” Heidner says. 

Jinno was never arrested or charged for any activities related to January 6, and it appears he did not trespass inside the Capitol building itself or engage in fighting with police officers assigned that day. But an Instagram post that has since been deleted does confirm his presence on grounds. In the video, he pans over a singing crowd 

A screengrab of January 6 footage posted to Jinno's Instagram account
A screengrab from Ben Jinno’s previous Instagram handle.

Perhaps more disturbing is Jinno’s rhetoric leading up to the events of January 6. He overtly threatens to assassinate political commentator Keith Olbermann. 

A screengrab of tweets from Ben Jinno. It includes "If I ever see @KeithOlbermann, it's on sight."
“What are you going to do if the 6th doesn’t go your way?” Jinno tweeted before the attempted insurrection.

In a video posted to TikTok and Twitter just one week before the Capitol attack, Jinno films himself loading rounds into an assault rifle magazine. Behind him, an American flag is draped on the wall.

“What if there really is a global and elitist plan to overthrow the United States so that they can make it part of this one world communist government? My question is: what are you gonna do about it?”

A screengrab from Jinno's TikTok account, featuring him loading a rifle magazine with bullets
“I’m pretty sure I just destroyed my TikTok account trying to post this,” Jinno wrote on Twitter.

Heidner, who is seeking a 6-year position on the Barrington Area Library Board of Trustees, is campaigning alongside censorship extremists Kristin Cunningham and Kelly Dittman. They are supported by Action PAC, a far right political action committee also endorsing three candidates for D220 school board—including Moms for Liberty activist Katey Baldassano—and one for village trustee. PAC treasurer Steve Wang currently sits on the D220 board.

Action PAC has raised an extraordinary amount of cash for a local school and library board election, with contributions currently sitting at $64, 219. Its biggest donor is Heidner’s father, Rick Heidner, whose video gambling company Gold Rush Amusements chipped in $10k.

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