© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Liberal MSNBC host tells Peter Hotez not to debate RFK Jr.; likens Kennedy to a Holocaust denier
Image composite, source: Twitter video, @MehdiHasanShow - Screenshot

Liberal MSNBC host tells Peter Hotez not to debate RFK Jr.; likens Kennedy to a Holocaust denier

Vaccine promoter Peter Hotez remains unwilling to agree to a debate with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. over whether the Democratic presidential candidate's criticisms of the COVID-19 vaccines amount to "misinformation" — even though Joe Rogan and a cadre of interested parties have together volunteered to donate over $2.6 million to the charity of his choosing.

Hotez appears more than happy to talk, just not to those with dissenting viewpoints for charity's sake.

He appeared Sunday on MSNBC's "Mehdi Hasan Show," in part to peddle his new book, but also to take more digs at Kennedy, suggesting that joining him on Rogan's podcast for a debate would "turn it into 'The Jerry Springer Show.'"

Hasan, in turn, condemned the prospect of debate and likened Kennedy to a "Holocaust denier."

What's the background?

TheBlaze previously reported that Hotez, a self-described "internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development," drew Rogan's ire on Saturday by circulating a hit piece from a bankrupted leftist blog that bemoaned Spotify's reluctance to censor the podcast host over so-called "misinformation."

The article, by Anna Merlan, focused on Rogan's recent interview with Kennedy, in which the two discussed the possible fallout from various pharmaceutical initiatives, including the COVID-19 vaccines.

Hotez tweeted, "Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation. It’s really true ⁦@annamerlan⁩ just awful. And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense."

Rogan quickly fired back with a proposal: "Peter, if you claim what RFKjr is saying is 'misinformation' I am offering you $100,000.00 to the charity of your choice if you’re willing to debate him on my show with no time limit."

Others have since volunteered funds to the charity debate pot, reportedly now over $2.62, including Cosmos founder Jae Kwon ($777,000), kickboxer Andrew Tate ($500,000), billionaire investor Bill Ackman ($150,000), Steve Kirsch ($100,00), and podcast host Tim Pool ($100,000).

RFK Jr. accepted the challenge: "Peter. Let’s finally have the respectful, congenial, informative debate that the American people deserve."

Hotez responded to Rogan, but then quickly deleted the tweet: "Be serious Joe, that's what you throw out for your hunting buddies on a weekend. $50 million endowment (which You/Spotify/RFK Jr. can easily afford), not for me but so we can continue making low-cost patent-free vaccines for the world's poor. Preceded by RFK Jr.'s public apology."

While Hotez later stated he was "happy to come on and clear the air," he did not agree to the debate.

Echoing a popular sentiment online, scientist Bret Weinstein noted, "If Hotez believed his own press, he’d debate. Big money going to a good cause neutralizes the 'dignifying' argument and winning would be a decisive victory against RFK Jr.’s perspective, which gains ground daily. But @PeterHotez would have to win and he can’t, for obvious reasons."

Elon Musk jumped into the fray by replying, "Maybe @PeterHotez just hates charity," adding, "He's afraid of a public debate, because he knows he's wrong."

Tom Nichols, a staff writer at the Atlantic, pre-empted Hasan in suggesting that "no medical professional should ever agree to this. Never. It elevates the conspiracy guy, demeans the medical professional, and will only convince the kooks out there that RFK is right because a real doctor took the time to debate him. Never debate a conspiracy theorist."

Rogan said in reply, "That would be a great suggestion if you could assure that the industry you were representing wasn’t completely captured by heartless monsters who have a history of some of the biggest criminal fines in human history because their deception has cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. It would be a great suggestion if the industry you were defending didn’t occasionally look at human beings as an opportunity to generate insane wealth regardless of the tragic consequences."

"You can't do that, so... maybe it would be a good idea to have a f***ing debate," added Rogan, who went on to retweet a video by Matt Orfalea calling Hotez "The Great Double-Talking Vaccine Scientist."

Hasan's warm embrace

Hotez took a break from retweeting posts praising his record Sunday to appear on Hasan's show.

Dressed in a lab coat, Hotez told the MSNBC host, "During the COVID pandemic ... 200,000 Americans needlessly perished because they believed the anti-vaccine disinformation and refused to take a COVID vaccine during the Delta wave and Ba1 Omicron wave in 2021, 2022, after vaccines were widely available. So the point is anti-vaccine disinformation, it's always done a lot of damage and harm, but now it's a lethal force in the United States."

"That's why we have to have that discussion," Hotez said, adding he was still happy to do so one on one with Rogan, just not with Kennedy present.

“In science, we don’t typically do debates," he told Hasan. "What we do is we write scientific papers. … One doesn’t typically debate science. Maybe the one-off discussion of evolution versus creationism and that sort of thing, but that’s not what we do in science.”

Hasan — whose network advanced the claim in 2021 that the COVID vaccine completely protects against symptoms and transmission — noted he was "fed up" with invitations to debate the issues, intimating that Hotez's writing and past appearances on corporate news programs were themselves satisfactory.

After stressing his antipathy for corrective exchanges of ideas, Hasan then accused Kennedy of contributing to a "vaccine misinformation culture that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of lives" and likened him to a "Holocaust denier."

The MSNBC host invoked his own book on the art of debating, then stressed the importance of Hotez avoiding a debate for fear of "elevating the cranks."

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?
Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@HeadlinesInGIFs →