Former environmental lawyer and Harvard Law graduate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is in the news more than ever recently after he announced in April that he is challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination.
But RFK Jr. has long been a controversial figure due to his promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories, especially around vaccines. So here's a guide to claims RFK Jr. has spent the last two decades promoting:
RFK Jr. is a known anti-vaxxer, founding the Children's Health Defense, America's largest anti-vaccine organisation.
He believes in the conspiracy that vaccines cause autism, despite organisations such as the CDC and WHO finding no credible link between the two.
In 2006, RFK Jr. wrote a piece in Rolling Stone and Salon titled "deadly immunity" in which he wrote that the government "knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children."
He has also claimed that Covid-19 was a "bioweapons problem" on Twitter Spaces, repeating the idea that the virus originated from a lab accident.
However, there has been no evidence to suggest that the virus was deliberately leaked as some claim. In his 2021 book The Real Anthony Fauci, Kennedy Jr. accused Fauci and Bill Gates of exaggerating the pandemic to promote vaccines.
He wrote that the pair launched "a historic coup d'état against Western democracy" by using their influence over the media and public health realm.
Links between mass shootings and prescription drugs
Kennedy Jr. has also blamed school shootings on drugs such as Prozac, an antidepressant.
On Monday he told Elon Musk in a Twitter discussion that "prior to the introduction of Prozac, we had almost none of these events."
There has been no link established between drugs such as Prozac and mass violence.
Democrats receive more money from the pharmaceutical industry than Republicans
On Twitter Spaces, he claimed that after the Affordable Care Act of 2010, "Democrats were getting more money from pharma than Republicans."
However, an analysis by STAT News found that in 14 of the past 16 elections from 1990-2020, 23 of America's biggest drug companies as well as 2 pharmaceutical trade organisations have favoured Republicans.
The CIA was involved in JKF's assassination
Talking about his uncle John F Kennedy's assassination, Kennedy Jr. agrees with the widely known claim that the CIA was involved in the death of his uncle.
He made the claim to Fox News's Sean Hannity, and his views align with over 50 per cent of Americans who believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.
The wrong person may have been convicted for killing his father
He also believes that Sirhan Sirhan, who confessed and was convicted of killing his father, Robert F. Kennedy, did not fire the shot that killed his father.
He believes that there was a second gunman, and after meeting Sirhan at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in 2017, he gave his support for reopening the investigation of his father's assassination.
The 2004 Presidential election was stolen
In 2006, Kennedy Jr. said that he was "convinced" that the 2004 presidential election was stolen from Democract John Kerry due to voter fraud.
After the election and reelection of President George W. Bush, the Democratic Party found no evidence of fraud.
Gun ownership in Switzerland is similar to the United States
Kennedy Jr. made a disproved claim that civilian gun ownership in Switzerland - which is 27.6 firearms per 100 people - is similar to that of the United States.
This is incorrect as US civilians have an average of 120.5 firearms per 100 people, according to the Small Arms survey by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Kennedy Jr's promotion of vaccine skepticism grew influence during the Covid-19 pandemic as did many anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
His views on vaccines have been denounced by two of his siblings - Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Joseph Kennedy II - as well as his niece Maeve Kennedy McKean.
Writing in a 2019 op-ed in Politicothey said: "We stand behind him in his ongoing fight to protect our environment. However, on vaccines he is wrong."
His wife, actress Cheryl Hines, also distanced herself from his views saying that his "opinions are not a reflection of [her] own," after Kennedy Jr compared vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany.
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