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ONE DUMB CONSPIRACY
Nobody can find Gavin Newsom
Conspiracy theorists were met with yet another defeat last week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) returned from a nearly two-week absence from the public eye. Newsom’s hiatus came due to unspecified “family obligations,” which ultimately led to the cancelation of his trip to Scotland for the COP21 climate change conference.
The decision to forgo the overseas trip came shortly after Newsom received a Moderna booster shot on Oct. 27, leading conspiracy theorists to suggest that the governor had undoubtedly experienced an adverse reaction.
The column continues below…
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After a week or so of silence, Newsom appeared in a video on Twitter wishing his constituents a happy Diwali and Bandi Chhorwas. Newsom then reportedly attended the wedding of artist and model Ivy Love Getty in San Francisco the following weekend.
Despite it becoming abundantly clear that Newsom was in perfect health, conspiracy theories continued to spread online thanks largely to right-wing figures such as Jack Posobiec. The conspiracy theory exploded last Monday when Children’s Health Defense, the organization run by prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, sensationally claimed that a “source” had revealed that Newsom was exhibiting symptoms of Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rare disorder in which the immune system damages nerves.
Once again, the claims appeared to be entirely false. Newsom gave a lengthy speech the very next day at the 2021 California Economic Summit. With all the conspiracy theories proven false, it appeared the ridiculous claims would finally end.
But undeterred by the falseness of the claim, an unknown individual would inject new life into the conspiracy theory by releasing a video that appeared to show one half of Newsom’s face paralyzed.
The insinuation was clear: Newsom had in fact experienced a debilitating side effect from his third COVID-19 shot.
“Um… What’s wrong with his face,” a Twitter user who shared the video last Tuesday said.
Conspiracy theorists quickly spread the video online, arguing that Newsom was actually dealing with Bell’s palsy, a reaction to a viral infection that causes muscle weakness in one side of the face. Others said Newsom had suffered from a stroke.
“He had a stroke. Partial paralysis,” another Twitter user said. “Watch his left eye also. A bit droopy and delayed.”
Others went as far as to claim that the individual in the footage wasn’t the governor at all, believing that Newsom had been arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay, a hallmark of QAnon.
But the footage is clearly a doctored version of a video shared by the official Twitter account for the Office of the Governor of California on Nov. 4.
In statements to numerous media outlets, Newsom’s press secretary Daniel Lopez stated that the governor had not experienced any side effects. With Newsom back in the public eye, it’s quite clear that none of the claims regarding his wellbeing were ever rooted in reality.
—By Mikael Thalen, staff writer
DAILY DOT PICKS
- Your holiday shopping just got easier. Let Dot Recs guide you to the best gift ideas for everyone on your list.
- Not Fox News editing a story on Sunday to downplay how many white nationalists there were at a recent anti-vax rally.
- The Daily Dot recently hit its 10-year anniversary, and we’ve decided to get nostalgic about the internet of our past. In this collection of stories, called The Lost History of the Internet, we explore online communities and events that shaped us—and internet culture as a whole.
- Speaking of which, I recommend you start with Audra Schroeder’s definitive origin story of Dancing Baby, the unsinkable O.G. meme.
- The holidays are already stressful enough. Here are the best kitchen gadgets you need for your holiday feast.*
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