Oprah Created A Monster Again, And This One's A QAnon COVID Hoaxer-Denier
In January of 1990, Oprah Winfrey invited several of the children from the infamous McMartin preschool trial to appear on her show. During the incredibly non-objective interview, Oprah straight out told the lawyer representing the children that she would have been a terrible juror in the case because "I would say, 'The children said it; all right, you're right.'"
She sure would have made a terrible juror, because the actual evidence in that case did not back up the children's claims then (which is why everyone involved was exonerated) and now we know that the whole thing was bullshit to begin with. Rather than learn from her mistake, however, Oprah never stopped being a terrible juror and never stopped promoting people who promote dangerous lies ... not all of whom were James Frey.
One of those people is Dr. Christiane Northrup, who appeared on Oprah at least a dozen times and is the source of a wide variety of completely ludicrous COVID misinformation. Northrup was named one of the top 12 COVID misinformation spreaders by the Center for Countering Digital Hate and (appropriately) kicked off of Instagram as a result.
In a deep dive on Northrup, Dr. Jen Gunter, a frequent debunker of gynecological nonsense, details not only the misinformation Northrup's been peddling since the beginning of the pandemic, but also the misinformation she was peddling while appearing on Oprah, while hosting her own eight-part series on PBS, and while maintaining a board certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Let's start with the pandemic stuff though, shall we? Northrup, first of all, was one of the major promoters of the Plandemic documentary, which posited that COVID-19 was created in an American lab for the purposes of getting people sick, but also is not as bad as people think it is and therefore no one needs to wear a mask. She's attended anti-mask rallies, claiming that wearing a mask for more than four minutes causes brain damage (which, as Gunter notes, is particularly odd since she herself did a surgical residency that would have required her to wear a mask for much longer than four minutes).
Gunter (and please do read her excellent post yourself, we can't possibly excerpt enough of it) lists some of the more absurd claims Northrup has made:
"MIT developed a die [sic] called luciferase which is in the vaccine so under a light people can scan you." This is apparently to identify if you are vaccinated or not.
You "can be controlled from outside of yourself by the vaccine," meaning some substance is shed by vaccinated people damaging or controlling the unvaccinated.
"The delta variant is imaginary."
"Women who have had the shots will never develop embryos."
"The vaccine cross reacts with syncytin-1, causing miscarriages."
"Standing barefoot on the earth for 20 minutes will reduce blood viscosity."
"This is a war between good and evil…so we need the highest nitric oxide levels to maintain the stamina to remain in our sovereignty as made in the image of God and trust in our divine source."
"All the animals in the animal trials died!"
Yeah. It's very easy to Google all of that and determine that it is bullshit.
But how could Oprah possibly have known that? After all, this is a recent development, no?
Well, as it turns out, it is not. The thing that got Northrup on Oprah in the first place, the thing that got her all of her other public appearances, was a book she wrote in 1994 called Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, which ended up becoming an international bestseller. As important as advocating for women's health is, the signs were there all along. From having a blurb on the book from Deepak Chopra (another scammy alternative medicine peddling guru promoted by Oprah) to the description of the book from the publishers, it's fairly obvious that it is bullshit.
The description of the book on Amazon promises you will discover the following things:
• new material on sexuality—and how to have a more fulfilling sex life
• the spiritual and scientific principles behind healing from terminal illnesses, and how you can utilize these principles for your own health and the health of others
• vital information about how to truly dissolve PMS and ease menstrual cramps
• extraordinary facts on Vitamin D—and why it is crucial for breast, cardiovascular, and immune system health
• the importance of the preconception diet and how to greatly decrease your risk of birth defects
• how to birth naturally, despite the current induction and C-section epidemic
• all you need to know about thyroid function, including proper blood tests
• life-saving facts about cellular inflammation—the root cause of all chronic degenerative diseases—and how to prevent this condition
• the essentials on the "fountain of youth molecule"—and how to enhance your levels of it for vibrant health
Yeah. It seems relatively obvious that this is not a scientific tome and no one should need to read anything other than the back cover in order to figure that out. Generally "the fountain of youth ____" is a pretty reliable tip-off that something is nonsense. Gunter, however, has read the actual book and shares some of the, uh, "wisdom," found within.
It is no wonder Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom was a bestseller. Not only was she the only gynecologist speaking out publicly and railing against the patriarchy, but she has a folksy writing style that makes the reader believe she is advocating for you against medical misogyny. Most chapters start with some accurate information of how medicine has failed women and then some basic biology, but it is not always accurate. For example she writes that "ovulation is ruled by the moon" and "disease is not created until a woman is frustrated in effecting changes that she needs to make in her life." In Northrup's world many illnesses appear to be manifestations of being out of touch with the Divine, meaning a personal weakness.
And it actually gets worse.
In Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Northrup writes that AIDS is "a consequence of a large-scale breakdown in human immunity, resulting from such factors as the pollution in the air and water, soil depletion, poor nutrition, and generations of sexual repression." And Northrup claims that there were people who "reversed their HIV status to negative" with the "healing power of nature and love."
Yeah. People at the Oprah show and people at PBS saw this and thought, "You know what? Let's hear more of what this woman has to say."
Northrup, as Gunter explains, is able to leverage the legitimacy given to her by Oprah, by PBS (neither or which have publicly denounced her or taken her videos down), and by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (which has not decertified her) to promote COVID misinformation, to promote QAnon and whatever other nonsense she comes up with.
And she's not the only one. Oprah also gave a platform to New Age guru James Arthur Ray, convicted of negligent homicide after three people who attended his "Spiritual Warrior" retreat died in a sweat lodge he wouldn't allow them to leave, and has never renounced him or even spoken about the incident. And as recently as 2019, Ray was promoting his bullshit again, by way of bragging about how much Oprah loved him.
We are currently paying the price for years and years and years of Oprah and so many others capitalizing on all of this health nonsense like it was just some nice, open-minded, spiritual advice that wasn't actually going to harm anyone. It's something that is extremely appealing in a society where most people do not feel like they can trust the intentions of those who are supposed to be taking care of our health. It's not really all that hard to see why people might trust a pseudo-profound huckster like Northrup or Deepak Chopra or James Arthur Ray over Joe Manchin's asshole daughter, getting rich off of charging desperate people about $650 for two-packs of Epipens — and the messed up thing about that is that despite all the corruption and the greed, the Epipens actually work. The vaccines made by equally sociopathic pharmaceutical companies work (and do not contain "luciferase," which is the light protein in fireflies but is so perfectly close to "Lucifer" for the QAnon crowd) ... and crystals and homeopathy do not. Those promoting pseudoscience are just as cynical and greedy in exploiting people's desire to be healthy as "Big Pharma" is, they just throw on a turquoise necklace and talk about "the divine inner goddess" or whatever while doing it.
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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