Since the start of the pandemic, those skeptical of the mainstream media's narrative about the origins of COVID-19 have been ridiculed, criticized, suppressed, and sometimes completely banned from social media under the guise of misinformation policies.
Below are 10 prominent individuals who were either banned from social media or highly criticized by the media for their skepticism on COVID-19 protocols.
Dr. Li-Meng Yan
In September 2020, Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese academic, suggested that COVID-19 had deliberately been released in Wuhan. Dr. Yan's Twitter account, sporting 60,000 followers at the time, was subsequently terminated. At the time, Twitter refused to comment on the case, making the reason for the ban unclear.
Dr. Yan appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight, and said: "I have evidence to show why they [the Chinese scientists] can do it, what they have done, how [they did it]."
"The scientific world also keeps silent...work together with the Chinese Communist Party, they don't want people to know his truth. That's why I get suspended, I get suppressed, I am the target that Chinese Communist Party wants disappeared."
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK)
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton was among the first people to suggest that the virus had originated in a lab. In February 2020, Cotton said that there were four major possibilities that could explain the origin of COVID-19, including the "engineered-bio weapon hypothesis" and "natural" causes, which Cotton admitted was most likely, but added that it was "certainly not from the Wuhan food market."
CNN subsequently reported that Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at MIT, and Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, were not convinced of Cotton's theory.
Schaffner went on to say that "I have seen no one provide any solid information to support that [Wuhan lab] theory. I think at this point you can draw a line through it and say that it didn't happen."
However, those were the early days of the pandemic, and new information is now available that was not before.
Dr. Robert Malone
Dr. Malone was banned from Twitter on Dec. 29, 2021, after taking to Twitter to post: "The Pfizer Inoculations For COVID-19 - More Harm Than Good - VIDEO."
He continued by writing on Twitter: "Pfizer 6 month data which shows that Pfizer's COVID-19 inoculations cause more illness than they prevent. Plus, an overview of the Pfizer trials flaws in both design and execution."
Dr. Malone has subsequently started writing on Substack, where he breaks down his thoughts on the research undergirding the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19.
Dr. Peter McCullough
Dr. McCullough, a cardiologist, was another physician who was barred from expressing their thoughts on the virus at Twitter. Dr. McCullough was reportedly banned from Twitter in October, just weeks before Elon Musk took over the company, for posting a video that suggested the Pfizer vaccine was killing children.
Dr. McCullough tweeted in December: "Alright everyone, I am back on Twitter! Let's see my verification and completely uncensored, no unfollow programs, no bots assigned to me, and absolutely no shadow-banning. Let the world hear the medical truth (98% want it) on the pandemic and more!"
Alex Berenson, a former reporter with The New York Times, was banned from Twitter in August of 2021 for allegedly violating the platform's COVID minformation rules.
The tweet that ultimately led to his removal from the platform suggested that the vaccine could be compared to a therapeutic "with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile."
"It doesn't stop infection. Or transmission. Don't think of it as a vaccine," Berenson said in a tweet. "Think of it - at best - as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS. And we want to mandate it? Insanity."
A year later, in August 2022, Berenson was reinstated on Twitter after winning a lawsuit in which he alleged that he had not violated Twitter's rules. A judge agreed.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
MTG was banned in August 2021 for violating Twitter COVID misinformation policies after writing on the platform that "vaccines are failing & do not reduce the spread of the virus & neither do masks."
However, this tweet was just the beginning. A few months after MTG was reinstated on the social media platform, she was banned again in early 2022 for, again, violating the COVID misinformation policy.
Twitter responded to Fox News about the situation, saying: "We permanently suspended the account you referenced (mtgreenee) for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy. We've been clear that, per our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for repeated violations of the policy."
Perhaps the most suprising name on this list, Stewart was never banned from Twitter, but he was heavily criticized for suggesting that COVID may have originated in a Chinese lab. The comedian and former host of the Daily Show faced backlash when he made an appearance on Stephen Colbert's The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2022.
However, Stewart downplayed the fact that there was validity to his position, saying that "I wasn't waiting on the Department of Energy to weigh in on this" in a video discussion on The Problem With Jon Stewart.
Stewart continued: "The larger problem with all of this is the inability to discuss things that are within the realm of possibility without falling into absolutes and litmus-testing each other for our political allegiances as it arose from that."
Stewart was subsequently accused of being racist against Asian people due to his open-mindedness that the virus may have started in a lab.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya
In a Twitter Files release in December 2022, it was discovered that Twitter blacklisted Dr. Bhattacharya for his positions on COVID. He was secretely blacklisted for suggesting that lockdowns were harming children, which Bari Weiss said was preventing the physicians from trending on the platform.
Dr. Bhattacharya appeared on Laura Ingraham's show to discuss the situation. During the segment. Dr. Bhattacharya noted that if "we had an open discussion, Laura, the schools would not have closed in the fall of 2020. If we had an open discussion, the lockdowns would have been lifted much earlier because the data and evidence behind them was so bad."
Kirk was on the receiving end of a secret blacklist by Twitter for what he believes to be his views on COVID-related lockdowns. Kirk spoke with Fox News' Tucker Carlson to discuss the debacle, saying that he was coined a conspiracy theorist for suggesting that lockdowns were the wrong course of action.
Kirk went on to say that he believed his Twitter engagement had decreased by 95 percent in 2020. He even suggested that Dr. Fauci and the government could have suggested to Twitter that they shadow-ban his account.
Kirk concluded: "I don't think we'll ever measure the impact of what Twitter did to our voices online in the calendar year of 2020."
Twitter gave Bostom five strikes before finally suspending his account after he cited COVID data compiled by health officials, according to the Daily Caller. Bostom shared that he had not received any communication from Twitter leading up to the suspension. Consequently, he believes that his five-month suspension was politically driven. Bostom's account was reinstated on Dec. 25, 2022.
However, according to internal documents, it was reported that most of the strikes Bostom received were inaccurately applied.
Bostom's offending tweet suggested that while COVID-19 was not as dangerous as the flu for children, the vaccine was even more dangerous than the flu vaccine for those in the same demographic. Bostom even used a study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that demonstrated that, in 2020, COVID-19 did not significantly contribute to the deaths of 64 of the 182 children who died while diagnosed with the virus.
Since Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, he has dropped all pre-existing COVID misinformation policies that has stifled debate and conversation around the issue.
With four of the eight largest government agencies either convinced or open to the possibility that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab, it remains to be seen whether other social media platforms will concede that they may have been incorrect to ban and stifle conversation around the issue.