A nearly 30-minute clip from a movie called ‘The Plandemic’ has taken over social media and was taken down by YouTube, over the last few days.
It’s the latest coronavirus-related topic that has sent the Internet into a divided rage.
The film features Dr. Judy Mikovits, and in it, she is identified as a molecular biologist and medical researcher. Multiple media reports have also described her as an anti-vaccination advocate, but she says in the film that she is not one, RepublicWorld reports.
“The Plandemic,” a 25-minute clip from an upcoming documentary, was taken off of YouTube this week for violating the Google-owned video site’s community guidelines. The video centered on Dr. Judy Mikovits, a former chronic fatigue researcher who claims the federal government is behind a “plague of corruption” to inflate profits from a potential vaccine even as COVID-19 threatens lives.
Below, we try to answer some key questions being asked by viewers:
What is ‘The Plandemic’ all about?
It’s actually not all about the coronavirus, but also vaccinations and Mikovits’ life. A PRWire release promoting the film that was distributed by The Associated Press describes it as follows (references to ‘she’ refer to Mikovits):
"When she was part of the research community that turned HIV-AIDS from a fatal disease into a manageable one, she saw science at its best. But when her investigations questioned whether the use of animal tissue in medical research were unleashing devastating plagues of chronic diseases, such as autism and chronic fatigue syndrome, she saw science at its worst.
“If her suspicions are correct, we are looking at a complete realignment of scientific practices, including how we study and treat human disease. Recounting her nearly four decades in science, including her collaboration of more than thirty-five years with Dr. Frank Ruscetti, one of the founders of the field of human retrovirology, this is a behind the scenes look at the issues and egos which will determine the future health of humanity.”
Why is Judy Mikovits’ called a controversial researcher?
According to Science, Mikovits reportedly detected an ‘Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,' but by 2011, no other lab or scientist could replicate the findings.
“Science published online a nine-lab study widely seen as the final blow to the theory, championed by Mikovits and colleagues in an October 2009 Science paper, that a recently detected mouse retrovirus might play a causal role in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),” the outlet wrote in 2011.
“A letter in the same issue of Science from one of the contributing labs to the 2009 report revealed that a contamination had marred its contribution—PCR detection and sequencing of the mouse virus, dubbed XMRV. Mikovits and colleagues defended the validity of the rest of the study, known as Lombardi et al., which detected the virus by several other methods, so Science issued a rare partial retraction of the original paper."
A full retraction was later issued, according to Snopes.
What does Anthony Fauci have to do with it?
According to Snopes, Mikovits claims that Fauci, who currently is part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and continues to be the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, once threatened her with arrest if she visited the National Institutes of Health to participate in a study to validate her chronic fatigue research. Fauci denies ever saying such a thing, as he told Snopes:
“I have no idea what she is talking about. I can categorically state that I have never sent such an e-mail to Dr. Ruscetti. I had my IT people here at NIH search all my e-mails and no such e-mail exists. Having said that, I would never make such a statement in an e-mail that anyone “would be immediately arrested” if they stepped foot on NIH property.”
Was Judy Mikovits arrested?
Yes, she was, according to Science. A 2011 article from the publication states:
“Lois Hart, one of Mikovits’s attorneys, says her client is being held for extradition to Reno, Nevada, in relation to a civil lawsuit against her filed by the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI). Mikovits worked as the research director at WPI, a nonprofit in Reno, for 2 years until she was fired by its president, Annette Whittemore, on 29 September. On 4 November, WPI filed suit against Mikovits, alleging that she had wrongfully kept her laboratory notebooks and other information about her work for the fledgling institute on her laptop, in flash drives, and in a personal e-mail account. A preliminary injunction in the case is set to be held by Nevada’s Second District Judicial Court on 22 November. On that same day, Mikovits has a hearing in Ventura County, California, where she can contest extradition, Hart says.”
According to MyNews4.com, Mikovits turned herself into authorities in late November 2011 and was released the same day. The charges were dropped in 2012, per Science, which wrote the following at the time:
“Assistant District Attorney John Helzer, who filed the dismissal, says Whittemore’s legal troubles factored into his decision. “There’s a lot going on with the federal government and different levels that wasn’t occurring when we first became involved with prosecuting this case,” says Helzer. “And we have witness issues that have arisen.””
Why are people sharing ‘The Plandemic’ clip?
Clearly, some people find it to be truthful and thus are sharing it for that reason, while others are sharing it to dispute parts or all of the clip.
The team at MIT Technology Review writes:
"Anti-vaccine activists are particularly good at gaining views on virtually any social app, says Renee DiResta, a researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory who works to combat this type of misinformation. “They are on every single social platform—even TikTok,” she says. “If they can create content people will find if they search for a specific term, they’ll invest the time.”
You can read that full report here.
Can I still watch it?
The answer to that question seems to be changing by the minute: While some report it is still searchable on Facebook, others claim it is not. And, while reports say YouTube has taken it down, there also appear to be third-party recordings of the original clip that are now uploaded to the popular video site.
Author’s note: This story was updated to include Mikovit’s response in the film related to vaccinations and also to add the titles listed for her in the film.
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