Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton is facing criticism after sharing an anti-vaxxer post on Instagram which accuses Bill Gates of ‘lying’ over coronavirus trials. This morning, the 35-year-old shared a post from content creator King Bach who uploaded a video of Gates being interviewed on CBSN about progress on a vaccine for Covid-19, accompanying it with the caption:
‘I remember when I told my first lie’. In the video, the Microsoft magnate dispels fears over side effects that have been reported during coronavirus vaccine testing and rubbishes baseless suggestions that he wants to embed tracking chips in the vaccines.
Astonishingly, there are over 16,000 Facebook posts promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about Gates and the virus while media analytics company Zignal Labs says misinformation about the billionaire is the most widespread of all coronavirus falsehoods.
Regardless, Hamilton shared the post which fuels anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories about Gates to his 18.3million followers on Instagram, prompting condemnation. ‘Very sad to find out that Lewis Hamilton is an anti-vaxxer,’ wrote one user on Twitter. ‘I have been a big fan but wow, this is a problem.’
@LewisHamilton All your fantastic work with BLM is thrown right out the window with your one single Instagram post.You’re surrounded by incredibly smart people daily. You cannot honestly hold an opinion so dumb and unfounded in science.Explain yourself.— Kristoffer Johansson (@Kriistoffer)
Another added: ‘Lewis Hamilton, with no less than 18 million followers on Instagram, goes on to repost antivaxx conspiracy bulls**t. Sir, I applaud your climate and social activism, but please don’t spread dangerous disinformation.’ In the video, Gates played down fears over side effects during testing and confronted the conspiracy theories head on, telling CBSN: ‘No, there’s no connection between any of these vaccines and any tracking type thing at all, I don’t know where that came from.’
Probed on why these falsehoods have become so prevalent, he continued: ‘I don’t know. Dr Fauci and I are the two most mentioned, and some of these are deeply ironic. Like, our foundation is about reducing death and bringing equity to health. ‘And yet the idea that we get accused of creating chips or the virus, I think we just need to get the truth out there. We need to explain our values so that people understand why we’re involved in this work and why we’re willing to put billions towards accelerating the progress. It’s a little unclear to me, but I hope it will die down as people get the facts.’