Twitter CEO Elon Musk has targeted the top infectious disease official and the key advisor to the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Anthony Fauci, in a tweet that has sparked backlash. In the latest tweet, Elon Musk wrote: ‘My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci’, alluding to the practice of indicating gender pronouns after one’s name.
My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2022
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The Tesla CEO also posted a meme targeting Anthony Fauci and US President Joe Biden and wrote: ‘Just one more lockdown my kingâ€¦’. It was an apparent criticism of the Covid mitigation measure Musk has repeatedly slammed but has not been deployed in the country for over a year.
December 11, 2022
Anthony Fauci was hailed as a hero by some during the Covid-19 pandemic. But many condemned him for his recommendations supporting social distancing, the use of face masks and vaccinations to protect against Covid. Last month, Twitter, refurbished its online rules that revealed it will no longer enforce its policy against Covid-19 misinformation, raising concerns among public health experts and social media researchers.
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Musk’s tweet quickly went viral, receiving over 800,000 likes within some 11 hours but also sparking swift criticism. Musk was criticised for targetting Fauci with vaccine scientist and author Peter Hotez calling on billionaire to delete the tweet. Peter Hotez said, “200,000 Americans needlessly lost their lives from Covid due to this kind of antiscience rhetoric and disinformation.”
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar appreciated how Anthony Fauci ‘calmly guided our country through crisis’. He addressed Elon Musk and said: “Could you just leave a good man alone in your seemingly endless quest for attention?”, reported news agency AFP.
Former CIA Director John Brennan called Fauci a “national hero” and accused Musk of stoking hatred.
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Anthony Fauci, who became the face of America’s Covid-19 pandemic response under Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden, is preparing to step down from his government roles at the end of the year. He also quit the post of director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, which he has headed since 1984.
Republican lawmakers have planned to grill Fauci when they take control of the House of Representatives in January. The lawmakers have been at loggerheads with the top immunologist over Covid vaccines, mask mandates and other pandemic-related issues. However, Fauci has already said that he is not concerned about Republicans’ increasing calls to investigate him over the US handling of the pandemic.
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Musk, however, received praise from right-wing corners. Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted: “I affirm your pronouns Elon.” Her account was removed from Twitter over Covid misinformation but was reinstated under Musk’s leadership.