If You Want To Party At Anti-Vaxxer RFK Jr.'s House, Better Get A Vaccine!
For the past year or so, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been one of the biggest spreaders of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, managing to get himself kicked off of Instagram this past February for pushing one too many thoroughly debunked claims about it. Given this, those who received an invitation to a holiday party at his house were surprised to find that they would need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get in the door. Awkward!
Asked for a statement, Kennedy said that the invitations were sent out by his wife, Larry David's fictional ex-wife Cheryl Hines, to her "entertainment industry friends and cast members," adding "I guess I’m not always the boss at my own house" like he's the star of an outdated sitcom about married life and not one of the world's foremost vaccine conspiracists.
In other news, probably hundreds of people are currently saying to themselves, "Did I know that Cheryl from Curb Your Enthusiasm was married to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.? Maybe I did know but just pushed it out of my brain because it's disappointing and weird," and also Googling to see if she's said anything weird about COVID or vaccines only to find out that she previously did a campaign for whooping cough vaccines. Huh.
This comes on the heels of an AP profile on how Kennedy's anti-vaccine Children's Health Defense has exploded during the pandemic, doubled its annual revenue, "expanded the reach of its newsletter, launched an internet TV channel and started a movie studio" and become one of the major sources for vaccine disinformation.
More than 200 million Americans have been given a COVID-19 vaccine, and serious side effects are extremely rare. Government safety tracking and testing have shown that any health risks posed by the vaccine are far lower than the risks posed by the virus.
Children’s Health Defense and its followers, seeking to undermine that message, use canny techniques to bring anti-vaccine misinformation even to those not looking for it.
The AP found links to Children’s Health Defense articles all over Facebook, with many posted in the comments sections on pages that people turn to for reliable information, including official government Facebook pages in all 50 states. They were also shared outside the United States, on Facebook pages in places such as Canada, Norway and Greece.
Kennedy has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter, although he was kicked off Facebook’s Instagram platform earlier this year. Children’s Health Defense remains on all three platforms.
They also send out an absolutely absurd number of media blasts on practically every wrong thing Robert F. Kennedy thinks, even to people who write for explicitly pro-vaccine websites.
SO MANY EMAILS.
Kennedy claims that no one was actually asked for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get into the party. Let's all hope that this was because no one actually showed up and not because it was only put on the invitation to make people think the party would be safe when it actually was not — a scenario which actually does not seem like it would be all that out of place on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse