Jacob Chansley, the so-called "QAnon Shaman" is reportedly on a hunger strike in a Washington, D.C. jail. The man photographed at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot wearing face paint and fur insists that his religious practice of shamanism forbids him from eating any non-organic food. According to a report by The Hill, his lawyers filed an emergency motion asking that he either be given the food that meets these needs or be released.
Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, has reportedly lost about 20 pounds in jail, after not eating for a week straight. His lawyer's filing described his religion only as shamanism and said that it forbids him from eating non-organic food. "Based on Mr. Jacob Chansley's shamanic belief system and way of life, non-organic food, which contains unnatural chemicals, would act as an 'object intrusion' onto his body and cause serious illness if he were to eat it," attorney Albert Watkins went on.
Watkins added that he has tried to appeal to the D.C. Department of Corrections directly, but that those officials have failed to provide his client with his religiously mandated diet. The department itself has not yet commented. Watkins maintains that his client acted peacefully on the day of the riot and that if he broke any laws, he did so on his perceived instructions from former President Donald Trump himself.
Theoretically, most state, federal and private prison systems have protocols in place for facilitating religious diets for inmates. According to a report by The New York Times, many inmates convert to Judaism to get Kosher meals, which are often higher quality. The paper even reported that Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen opted for Kosher meals while behind bars.
According to a report by the ACLU, "Where reasonable accommodations by the prison can be made to provide religious meals, courts have ordered such diets to be made available to inmates." Whether Chansley's professed requirement for organic food is reasonable remains to be decided, but critics have pointed out many instances where non-white inmates were denied relatively more common dietary needs by prison officials. A 2019 Vice report about the scarcity of Halal food for Muslim inmates made the rounds on social media in the wake of Chansley's hunger strike.
Chansley is one of over 200 people now facing federal charges for the Capitol riot, which ended five lives and shook faith in American democracy all around the world. His attorneys put the blame for his actions on Trump, and say that Chansley would be willing to testify at Trump's impeachment trial to strengthen his position.