High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens apologized, at least:
After Vanessa Hudgens went live on Instagram on Monday, her comments about the coronavirus went viral — the bad kind of viral. Presumably in response to a question about the outbreak lasting into the summer, Hudgens said, “Yeah, til July sounds like a bunch of bulls—, I’m sorry. It’s a virus, I get it. I respect it.”
“But at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it — like, yeah, people are gonna die. Which is terrible. But, like, inevitable? I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now,” she said with a laugh.
On Tuesday, Hudgens posted an Instagram story responding to the backlash....
“Hey, guys,” Hudgens said. “Yesterday I did an Instagram Live, and I realized today that some of my comments are being taken out of context. It’s a crazy time. It’s a crazy, crazy time! And I am at home and in lockdown, and that’s what I hope that’s what you guys are doing, too — in full quarantine! And staying safe and sane. Yeah, I don’t take this situation lightly by any means. I am home. So stay inside, y’all.”
Later on Twitter, she offered an actual apology, calling her comments “insensitive,” and saying the response has been “a huge wake-up call.”
Hudgens is chastened. These guys? Not so much:
In a 27,000-member private Facebook group for first responders who support President Donald Trump, firefighters and paramedics have posted thousands of comments in recent weeks downplaying the coronavirus pandemic that they are responsible for helping to handle.
Posts in the group, which is called IAFF Union Firefighters for Trump and has been endorsed by Trump, scoffed at the seriousness of the virus, echoing false assertions by Trump and his allies comparing it to the seasonal flu. “Every election year has a disease,” read one meme, purporting to be written on a doctor’s office whiteboard. “This is a viral-pneumonia being hyped as The Black Plague before an election.”
... “I believe this is all by design,” wrote a Texas firefighter whose identity was corroborated by ProPublica. “Democrats have wanted to slow down and even kill the economy. It’s the only hope they have of beating Trump. Sad and disgusting the depths of shit the Democrats will descend to in order to gain power.”
... The group’s founder, Kelly Hallman, told ProPublica he doesn’t speak for everyone who posts, but he can understand why many emergency professionals share his skepticism about the coronavirus. He said previous outbreaks such as SARS, the H1N1 “swine flu” and Ebola didn’t prompt such a big response, and he thinks the reason is politics.
“There’s never been this much hoopla given to the other things,” Hallman said. “They’re doing it to crash the economy and make Trump look bad.”
The government shouldn't censor speech, but social media companies are private -- they can ban whomever and whatever they want. Or they can sanction speech on the platforms they own in other ways. Twitter, for instance, will put you in a twelve-hour lockout for a tweet it deems beyond the pale. It happened to me for a joke I admit was tasteless, a response to this tweet:
At this point can someone explain to me a realistic path to the nomination for Klobuchar, Steyer and Buttigieg?
— Matthew Dowd (@matthewjdowd) February 29, 2020
Was that "abuse and harassment," as Twitter described it? I don't think so, but to get back into my account, I took it down.
Why aren't these sites targeting virus denialists? Will Facebook go after those firefighters? (Facebook became more willing to ban some hate speech a while back but still allows Holocaust denial.)
And what about this right-wing rabble-rouser?
One day, we will look back and study the impact of the coronavirus.
Not the virus itself of course, but the mass global mental breakdown that it inspired.
Because people think it’s novel that 80 year olds are dying at a high rate from a flu.
This tweet will age well.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 10, 2020
Good news on the #coronavirus that you won’t find anywhere else!
-Australia reporting HIV drugs have been effective in treating dire cases.
-Perspective: 6700 deaths worldwide. On average, 7500 people die everyday in U.S alone.
-93% of all world cases are in MILD condition.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 16, 2020
News from the #Coronavirus you won’t find anywhere else!
The US Surgeon General says the average age for death is 80 years old and children and young adults are MORE LIKELY to die from the flu.
So how come we never shut down society to protect children from the flu?
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 17, 2020
This is asinine:
1) The flu shot is not a cure.
2) You can still get the flu and die from it, even if you get the vaccine.
3) 750 million people are infected with the flu annually (5 million, severely). It will kill more children & young people, than the coronavirus will. https://t.co/N2UyNvfwmB
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) March 17, 2020
Forgive me if I think this is a tad more dangerous than my joke. Maybe at least a twelve-hour suspension for some of this denialism, @jack Dorsey?
Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog