Footage of a priest collapsing that has been used as part of a conspiracy theory about the COVID vaccine.

Anews Acapulco/YouTube

Conspiracy theorists think a video shows a priest dying from the COVID vaccine—it doesn’t

Here's this week's 'One Dumb Conspiracy' newsletter.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Posted on Nov 29, 2021   Updated on Nov 29, 2021, 10:18 am CST

Welcome to the Monday edition of Internet Insider, unfurling online threads of misinformation—one dumb conspiracy theory at a time.

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Anews Acapulco/YouTube

ONE DUMB CONSPIRACY

Conspiracy theorists think a video shows a priest dying from the COVID vaccine—it doesn’t

Conspiracy theorists are convinced that the COVID-19 vaccine is responsible for the death of a priest who was witnessed collapsing in a viral video. But there’s just one problem: The priest isn’t dead

The video, which began circulating this month on numerous social media platforms such as Gab, GETTR, Twitter, and Facebook, purports to show the priest dying on a live stream video during a Catholic mass.

The priest, who can be heard speaking Spanish, begins to stumble and eventually loses consciousness before numerous individuals rush to his aid.

Countless users who shared the video suggested without evidence that the priest not only had recently received the vaccine but that the inoculation was to blame for his death.

“Low frequency kills are at an all time HIGH!” one user bizarrely said on Twitter. “Priest ‘dies suddenly’ during live stream after getting vaccinated…”

Some accused the media of refusing to report on the allegedly damning footage, while others claimed that the pharmaceutical companies were guilty of mass murder. 

Over on BitChute, a popular video streaming service among the far-right, one user even suggested that the priest “got what he deserved” during a conspiratorial tirade.

The user falsely claimed: “The priest that drop dead from taking the experimental drug gene therapy that’s good for his ass and he got what he deserved.”

Seemingly none of the users sharing and commenting on the video stopped to ask for proof of the claims being made.

The column continues below. 

It turns out the footage was taken from a church in Acapulco, Mexico, known as Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Reina de México. The mass, as noted by Lead Stories, had been presided over by priest Ángel Cuevas.

Despite the recent focus on the incident, the video appears to have been filmed in early September. One version of the video from an Acapulco-based news account on YouTube is dated as Sept. 3

A description for the video, translated from Spanish to English with Google Translate, states that Cuevas merely “fainted” and later “recovered.”

In fact, Cuevas was seen the very next day back in church on another livestream video on Facebook.

In comments to the congregation, Cuevas announced that he would be taking time off to rest.

“Thank God I am on my feet, I am already under medical supervision and, on the recommendation of the doctors, I will be absent for a few days,” he said.

One of the top comments on the video, also translated into English from Spanish, applauded the priest’s return.

“Thank God Father Angel Cuevas is better God bless and take care of him,” the user said.

Cuevas has since returned to the church and even delivered a sermon over livestream on Nov. 23.

The incident once again shows how quickly a false claim can be promoted as true when it conforms to a conspiratorial bias.

Despite undeniable evidence that the priest is alive and well, the video continues to spread across social media.

—Mikael Thalen


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*First Published: Nov 29, 2021, 8:55 am CST