A virologist challenged to a debate with Robert F. Kennedy Jr by podcaster Joe Rogan says he’s been stalked outside his home, as one right-wing commentator posted a video confronting him.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, tweeted his concerns on Saturday about Rogan’s interview with Kennedy, a longshot Democratic presidential candidate.
Hotez expressed concerns with comments made by Kennedy and Rogan about the dangers of vaccines. That sparked a backlash from both sides with some pushing Hotez to debate and others blasting Rogan.
Hotez was confronted Sunday by Alex Rosen, a self-proclaimed ‘independent journalist’ who works for a site called ‘Predator Poachers.’
Rosen, after exchanging pleasantries, asked Hotez why he wouldn’t debate Kennedy.
‘Aw come on, that’s harassing,’ Hotez replied.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a virologist challenged to a debate with Robert F. Kennedy Jr by podcaster Joe Rogan, says he’s been stalked outside his home, as one right-wing commentator posted a video confronting him
‘I’m just curious, nothing hostile, just curious,’ said responded Rosen.
Hotez said he hadn’t made a decision, saying Rogan ‘just invited me, so we’ll see. We’ll give it some thought.’
After repeating that he felt Hotez should debate, Rosen asked: ‘What do you say to people who think they’re vaccine injured?’
Hotez, clearly perturbed, began to close his gate and started to walk away from Rosen.
The virologist tweeted Sunday about what he felt was stalking, possibly in reference to Rosen. He also poked fun at his casual outfit.
‘Ugh I just was stalked in front of my home by a couple of anti-vaxers taunting me to debate RFKJr. Of course I was looking my Sunday best in our brutal heat wave. What is it with people?’
Kennedy in the interview on Rogan’s podcast last week repeated his debunked claims that common childhood vaccines cause autism, which Hotez called ‘just awful’ as he lamented ‘it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense.’
Rogan fired back with a challenge: ‘Peter, if you claim what RFK Jr. is saying is “misinformation” I am offering you $100,000.00 to the charity of your choice if you’re willing to debate him on my show with no time limit.’
Twitter owner Elon Musk quickly chimed in to goad on the drama, tweeting that Hotez ‘just hates charity’ and saying the scientist is ‘afraid of a public debate, because he knows he’s wrong.’
Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, on Saturday tweeted his concerns about Rogan’s interview with Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy Jr appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast this week, repeating his debunked claims that common childhood vaccines cause autism
The virologist tweeted Sunday about what he felt was stalking, possibly in reference to Rosen
Earlier Sunday, Hotez received the backing of billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
‘Not saying there aren’t a lot of f**ked up things about pharma. But to ignore that the same industry has saved who knows how many lives is bulls**t and you know it,’ he tweeted.
‘It’s also disrespectful to all the doctors, researchers and medical professionals that dedicate their lives to saving lives, like Dr. Hotez and the 800,000-plus doctors in the country that believe vaccines save lives.’
Later on in his rant, Cuban criticized Rogan and Musk.
‘Joe, you and Elon Musk’s Twitter are the mainstream online media and your platforms have become everything supposedly wrong with MSM. You are driven by self interest. Just like the MSM has always been accused of.’
‘Shark Tank’ star and NBA owner Mark Cuban chimed in on the Rogan’s challenge
Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, on Saturday tweeted his concerns about the Kennedy interview
However, in multiple tweets, Hotez indicated his willingness to appear on Rogan’s podcast, which reaches a massive audience of millions on Spotify.
‘I’m happy to come on and have a meaningful discussion. I respect you and your show and I don’t want an adversarial relationship. I think we can make some progress,’ tweeted Hotez.
‘And I’m open to a number of different options, but to be pressured to give you an answer on Twitter, now, with a “take it or leave it” demand that’s not how I work. Honestly, I don’t even think that would be in your best interests,’ he wrote.
Kennedy also indicated his willingness to engage, tweeting: ‘Peter. Let’s finally have the respectful, congenial, informative debate that the American people deserve.’
During his appearance on Rogan’s podcast on Thursday, Kennedy repeated his longstanding and debunked claims that common childhood vaccines cause autism.
‘Everybody will say, “There’s no study that shows autism and vaccines are connected.” That’s just just crazy. That’s people who are not looking at science. It’s part of the religion.’
The Democrat has made a name for himself by being a prominent anti-vaxxer, but his involvement in the anti-vaccine movement intensified after the pandemic and development of the Covid-19 vaccine.
His anti-vaccine charity, Children’s Health Defense, prospered at the time, with revenues more than doubling in 2020 to $6.8 million, according to filings made with charity regulators.
Rogan challenged Hotez to debate RFK Jr for a $100,000 donation to charity, while Elon Musk quickly chimed in to goad on the drama on Twitter, which he owns
Rogan’s challenge sparked a frenzied back-and-forth on Twitter, but Hotez indicated in multiple tweets that he would be willing to appear on the podcast
Kennedy Jr released a book in 2021, The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accused the U.S.´s top infectious disease doctor of assisting in ‘a historic coup d’etat against Western democracy’ and promoted unproven COVID-19 treatments such as ivermectin, which is meant to treat parasites, and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
His push against the COVID-19 vaccine has linked him at times with anti-democratic figures and groups.
Kennedy Jr has appeared at events pushing the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and with people who cheered or downplayed the US Capitol riot.
Kennedy Jr has at times invoked his family’s legacy in his anti-vaccine work, including sometimes using images of President Kennedy.
His sister Kerry Kennedy, who runs Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the international rights group founded by their mother, Ethel, said her brother has at times removed some of the content at her request.
She told the Associated Press in a 2021 interview her brother is ‘completely wrong on this issue and very dangerous.’
After Kennedy announced his presidential bid as a Democratic candidate in April, he is polling at about 15 percent among potential primary voters, compared to 62 percent for President Joe Biden.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (left) waves to the crowd at his 2024 campaign kick-off alongside his wife actress Cheryl Hines (right), of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame
Since Kennedy announced his presidential bid as a Democratic candidate in April, he is polling at about 15 percent among potential primary voters
Kennedy Jr. has refused to openly speculate on Biden’s mental fitness for office, but told Fox News that he jumped in the race because he is displeased with what Biden is ‘doing with this country.’
He pointed specifically to the president’s handling of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which he said should have been settled long ago.
The amount of American dollars that have been sent to Ukraine since the conflict began last year currently tops $130billion, a figure Kennedy pointed out far exceeds the budgets of many of the US alphabet agencies combined.
The candidate suggested that some of that money be spent stateside instead, citing the fact that 57 percent of Americans cannot afford a sudden $1,000 hardship expense.
Kennedy has also attracted a niche crowd of followers among conservatives for his vociferous COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, as well as his support for keeping biological males out of women’s sports.