Alec Baldwin has been slammed after hosting an Instagram live with an anti-vaxxer, Robert F Kennedy. Jr (yes, who is related to the Kennedys).
Kennedy and Baldwin appeared on Instagram live together late last week, and for an hour, Kennedy spread misinformation about vaccine safety, about the potential death toll from Covid-19 and cast doubt about whether quarantine measures were even necessary. The conversation between the two has been viewed over 210,000 times, archived on Baldwin’s Instagram account.
Baldwin had invited Kennedy onto his Instagram live, and Baldwin had even told Kennedy that he had been watching Kennedy’s videos on vaccines for years. In 2005, Kennedy started to promote misinformation about vaccines – he was previously a well respected environmental lawyer, working mostly on water safety and with conversation groups.
Kennedy said that vaccines contained levels of mercury which were unsafe (this has been debunked several times) and that while many have pointed out that there are different kinds of mercury, Kennedy doesn’t accept the distinction. Kennedy also claimed that “vaccines are the only medical product that aren’t safety tested” – which is also untrue, and has also been debunked several times before.
Kennedy also discussed the Covid-19 crisis, saying that the death toll from lockdown could actually exceed the death toll from Covid-19, which hasn’t been suggested by experts or scientists with knowledge of how these viruses work or of previous pandemics.
He cited Sweden as an example of how to impose restrictions, despite the fact that it has a higher death toll than many of its neighbouring counties, and has said that the mainstream debate on Covid-19 is not what he wants to see, accusing news stations of polarising the debate.
Baldwin did not seem to push back against what Kennedy had said, instead nodding along and often just listening in silence. While he didn’t openly endorse many of Kennedy’s statements, he didn’t correct them either.
On social media, many people accused Baldwin of being "irresponsible" for giving Kennedy a platform to promote views which have not been endorsed by scientists.