An anti-vax activist assaulted a senator while streaming live on Facebook

An anti-vax activist assaulted a senator while streaming live on Facebook

An anti-vaccine activist (such a thing sadly exists) thought it would be a good idea to assault a California lawmaker responsible for tightening up vaccine requirements for children in schools.

Livestreaming on Facebook at midday on Wednesday, Kenneth Austin Bennett, a conspiracy theorist and man who is old enough to know better, held forth on the subject of corruption before bumping into his very own bête noire.

Sen. Dr. Richard Pan originally ignored Bennett’s attempts to bait him in the video, responding instead with a sardonic smile. The questions largely involved whether Pan would prefer to drink mercury or water, based in large part on discredited anti-vaccine arguments, the domain of the foolish.

With all the entitlement of a superhero fan in relation to a female character, Bennett said:

I'm a constituent. I want to know.

Moments later, Bennett pushes Pan from behind with the words:

Yeah, I pushed you. I pushed you. I pushed you. Adios.

Pan called on Facebook to remove the video on Thursday:

Mr. Bennett is not a lone actor, but a person who accepted the violent rhetoric of the anti-vax movement and acted upon it by assaulting me on a public street while live streaming the attack on Facebook.

Social media companies also need to accept responsibility for giving a platform for this violence and hate.

At the time of the incident, the police were called and Bennett was cited and released from the scene on a charge of misdemeanour assault. Probably best not to film yourself engaged in crimes.

More: This doctor invented a conspiracy theory to convince an anti-vaxxer mum to vaccinate her child

More: Anti-vaxx mum asks for prayers after her husband vaccinates her daughter - the internet responds

The Conversation (0)