Toxic celebrity

Instagram bars a vax denialist:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now blocked from Instagram after he repeatedly undercut trust in vaccines. Kennedy has also spread conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, accusing him of profiteering off vaccines and attempting to take control of the world’s food supply.

“We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NPR on Thursday.

Kennedy has been a prominent voice in the anti-vaccine community for years, speaking out against childhood vaccines and promoting controversial and disproven claims that seek to link vaccines with autism.

In the past year, Kennedy’s beliefs about vaccines have intersected with the COVID-19 pandemic. He has told his followers not to trust “mainstream media, government health officials” and doctors who say the coronavirus vaccines are safe, recently highlighting a rare and tragic case in which a woman died hours after receiving the vaccine.

Someone should tell him about the much less rare cases in which people die of the coronavirus.

In early 2017, Kennedy met with then-President-elect Donald Trump, urging him to create a commission to study vaccines’ safety. It was an instance, as NPR reported at the time, of “Trump embracing the fringe when it comes to the science of autism and vaccinations.”

In response to that meeting, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement saying “vaccines protect children’s health and save lives.”

While Kennedy works hard to stop them.

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