On the July 10 edition of The Charlie Kirk Show, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk interviewed vocal anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who promoted a conspiracy theory about Bill Gates and vaccination efforts in Africa and falsely claimed that vaccines harm the immune systems of children. This dangerous misinformation is now being spread on numerous major podcast services, including Apple, Spotify, and Audible.
Kirk has frequently promoted conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19. He has repeatedly attacked the science supporting mask mandates; claimed that “by historical standards, this is not a pandemic”; advocated for people to disregard local public health ordinances; and recently compared vaccine requirements to apartheid during an appearance on Fox News. (Per Media Matters’ internal database, Kirk has been a guest on weekday Fox News programming at least 68 times since January 1, 2020.)
STAT and others have debunked Kennedy's claims. He runs an organization devoted to spreading anti-vax propaganda, including attacks on the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Although he was banned from Instagram for promoting COVID-19 misinformation in February, Kennedy’s views have gained a larger audience on Fox as the network has become increasingly blatant about pushing anti-vax misinformation. In January, Laura Ingraham interviewed him on her podcast, during which she lavished praise on his efforts to undermine people’s faith in vaccines. Tucker Carlson, who once interviewed Kennedy on Fox, has been peddling similar talking points against the COVID-19 vaccine to Kennedy’s.
By hosting Kirk’s interview with Kennedy, companies like Apple, Spotify, Audible, and others are helping to spread dangerous anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories after over 600,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.