Anti-vaxxers spread callous conspiracy theory about Matthew Perry's death

Anti-vaxxers spread callous conspiracy theory about Matthew Perry's death
"Friends" star Matthew Perry has died at 54
Spot on News - Entertainment English / VideoElephant

No sooner had news broke of Matthew Perry’s untimely death than conspiracy theorists seized upon the tragedy.

Early on Sunday, it emerged that the Friends icon had been found dead at his LA home on Saturday afternoon, after apparently drowning in his hot tub.

According to US media, the 54-year-old had played a two-hour game of pickleball earlier in the day before sending his assistant out on an errand.

When they returned, they allegedly found Perry unresponsive in the jacuzzi.

Los Angeles Police Department officials have since told reporters that the cause of death isn’t likely to be determined for some time, but confirmed that there was no sign of foul play.

And yet, this hasn’t stopped wannabe sleuths from offering up their own baseless hypotheses.

High-profile anti-vaxxers were quick to blame Perry’s death on the coronavirus jab, including Kandiss Taylor, a Republican politician who recently compared Taylor Swift to Satan, and self-styled “crypto influencer” Matt Wallace.

They made use of a 2021 ad campaign, for which the Friends star donned a t-shirt branded with the slogan: “Could I BE any more vaccinated?”

In a further bid to hijack the sad news, theorists even edited Perry’s Wikipedia page to add: “It is unclear whether the drowning was due to complications from the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Luckily, this amendment has since been deleted.

More level-headed commentators spoke out against the unsupported suggestions, with one pointing out that sudden deaths do, sadly, happen, even in the young and healthy.

Others condemned the conspiracy mongers for “adding more grief to grieving people”.

Meanwhile, others asserted that Perry had been close to death many times before he’d received his coronavirus vaccinations, owing to his decades-long battle with alcohol and substance abuse.

Indeed, the American-Canadian actor began his 2022 memoir ‘Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing’ by addressing his issues head-on.

In the opening to the book he wrote: "Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name.

“My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead."

In aNew York Times interview published in October 2022, Perry said he had been clean for 18 months and estimated that he’d “probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober."

He admitted that his substance abuse started when he began drinking, aged 14, and that he later became addicted to the prescription drugs Vicodin, OxyContin, and Xanax.

“I would fake back injuries. I would fake migraine headaches. I had eight doctors going at the same time,” he told The New York Times.

“I would wake up and have to get 55 Vicodin that day, and figure out how to do it.”

In previous interviews, he admitted to being in rehab at least 15 times and getting 14 surgeries on his stomach caused by his opioid abuse, Rolling Stonenotes.

Then, at the age of 49, his colon burst as a result of his drug addiction, leaving him hospitalised for five months, including two weeks in a coma.

“The doctors told my family that I had a 2 percent chance to live,” the 17 Again star wrote in his memoir.

“I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that.”

Perry further detailed how, in late 2020, he had to pull out of filming a cameo in the Oscar-nominated satire Don’t Look Up after his heart stopped for five minutes and his ribs had to be broken to resuscitate him.

Perry (third from right) with his 'Friends' co-starsGetty Images

In his book, Perry also opened up about his struggles while filming Friends, and recounted a confrontation he'd had with co-star Jennifer Anniston while filming.

“I know you’re drinking – we can smell it,” he recalled her telling him, admitting that the plural “we” hit him “like a sledgehammer.”

In the foreword to the memoir, fellow Friends legend Lisa Kudrow described Perry as “whip-smart, charming, sweet, sensitive, very reasonable, and rational.”

She added: “That guy, with everything he was battling, was still there.”

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