Instagram has removed a video from Madonna’s feed after flagging the post for spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
According to screenshots shared Tuesday on Twitter, the pop singer’s caption claimed a vaccine for the virus “has been available for months” while “the rich get richer and the poor and sick get sicker.”
The video featured Stella Immanuel, a Houston paediatrician widely discredited for promoting conspiracy theories about antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and “sex demons,” as well as anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, according to the Independent. Instagram blurred the clip and labelled it “false information.”
To be clear: There is currently no vaccine or cure for COVID-19.
“The Truth will set us all Free!” Madonna wrote, hailing Immanuel as “my hero.” “But some people don’t want to hear the truth. Especially the people in power who stand to make money from this long drawn out search for a vaccine.”
Representatives for Madonna did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Wednesday.
According to the Guardian, fellow pop musician Annie Lennox was among those who condemned Madonna’s post, dismissing it as “utter madness.”
“I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery,” Lennox wrote. “Hopefully your site has been hacked and you’re just about to explain it.”
The video in question was filmed at an event during which Immanuel claimed to have successfully treated more than 350 patients with hydroxychloroquine. She’s also called studies disproving the drug’s effectiveness “fake science” and encouraged the public not to wear face masks. Masks have been proved to prevent infection.
Twitter has been cracking down on COVID-19 conspiracy theories, recently suspending Donald Trump Jr’s tweeting privileges for 12 hours after he shared the same viral video of a group called America’s Frontline Doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine outside the Supreme Court building. The footage was removed by Facebook as well, according to the Washington Post.
Madonna has been vocal about public health issues amid the coronavirus pandemic, reportedly teaming up with world leaders in May to help raise $8 billion (Dh29.38 billion) for vaccine research. She has also said she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, suspecting that she came down with the respiratory illness while in Paris on her Madame X tour.
And in March, the ‘Like a Prayer’ hit maker posted a controversial video dubbing the coronavirus “the great equaliser,” while lounging in a lavish bathtub sprinkled with rose petals.
“That’s the thing about COVID-19,” she said in the video, which has since been deleted following a swift backlash. “It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell.
“What’s terrible about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways — and what’s wonderful about it is that it’s made us all equal in many ways.”