NEW YORK - New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to permanently suspend Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Twitter account (@RobertKennedyJr) and the organization he founded and chairs, Children’s Health Defense (@ChildrensHD), for repeatedly spreading misinformation about the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines as evidence of a new surge of COVID-19 grows in the northeast and in other parts of the country.
Senator Hoylman said: “With infection rates spiking in New York and beyond, we’re on the verge of a third wave of COVID-19 that threatens to kill tens of thousands of more people and undo the hard work and sacrifice of millions of Americans to defeat the pandemic. Now, it’s more important than ever to recognize Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for what he is: A public health menace who should be banned from Twitter. Kennedy trades on his famous name, hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers and bunk science to spread lies about the COVID-19 vaccine. In doing so, he’s violated Twitter’s own rules nine separate times in the last few months and has met their criteria for suspension of his accounts.”
On March 1, Twitter introduced a “five strike system” restricting access to users who repeatedly violate Twitter’s “COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy.” Kennedy and Children’s Health Defense have shared tweets that represent at least five strikes each and therefore should be removed on the basis of Twitter’s own policy. For similar reasons, Facebook recently removed Kennedy’s personal Instagram account for “repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.”
Hoylman continued: “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is attempting to dissuade Americans from getting vaccinated just as we fight new strains of variants that could lengthen the COVID-19 pandemic and kill countless more people. Could there be anything more irresponsible and reckless than spreading misinformation about life-saving vaccines during this pandemic? I urge Jack Dorsey to follow Twitter’s own guidelines on the distribution of false and misleading information and permanently suspend Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Twitter account immediately.”
Senator Hoylman has been an outspoken champion of vaccines during his tenure in the NYS Senate. He sponsored legislation strengthening vaccine requirements for schoolchildren during the 2019 measles outbreak and in 2020 permitting the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered by licensed pharmacists. Last summer, Senator Hoylman participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial at the Vaccine Center at NYU Langone Hospital.