Vaccine Scientist Peter Hotez Stalked After Billionaires on Twitter Urge Him to Debate RFK Jr.

How it started:

Vaccine scientist Peter Hotez, MD PhD, stirred up the anti-vax hornet’s nest on Sunday when he retweeted in support of a Vice article critical of podcaster Joe Rogan’s interview with anti-vax crank and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Kennedy was repeating debunked false claims about vaccines linked to autism.

Rogan had a hissy and demanded that Hotez come on the podcast to debate Kennedy.

Rogan and hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman threw down a combined offer of a $250,000 donation to a charity of Hotez’s choice. Other public figures added to the offer and totaled at least $600,000.

Of course, head Twit Elon Musk was in support of a debate elevating conspiracy theories, accusing Hotez of “hating charities.”

Less than 24 hours later, Hotez reported on Twitter that he was confronted at his home by a couple of anti-vaxers taunting him to debate RFK Jr. and asking if he thought “vaccine injuries” are real.

In related news, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also said on another podcast that chemicals in the water were causing a rise in transgender youths and an uptick in “sexual dysphoria.”

Hotez—a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine—spent much of the pandemic on Twitter debunking misinformation surrounding Covid-19. Hotez was also part of the team that received a Nobel Prize nomination for their work to create a cheap and easy-to-make Covid-19 vaccine. This weekend’s Twitter disagreement is certainly not his first, but may be his most publicized rebuking of medical misinformation.


Forbes, Business Insider