Del Bigtree was a mediocrity who found he could gather a following (and make money) by joining the anti-vaccine bandwagon. He was a minor producer for the daytime TV show “The Doctors” before he quit to join Andrew Wakefield’s team creating the fake documentary “Vaxxed”. If you’ve forgotten Del (or never knew who he was), we discussed him and his efforts a great deal during time Vaxxed was being shown. Since then he’s grown his online presence, spreading conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine messages and general bad medical information.
For years Mr. Bigtree has supported demeaning messages about autistic people. For example, he likened autistic children to dogs or “exotic chimpanzees” (while anti vaccine activists Mark Blaxill and Ginger Taylor laughed). He never had the backbone to stand up to the people selling fake–and often abusive–autism “cures”.
He’s been a disaster or the autism communities. We are worse off for his attention.
But Youtube didn’t do anything about that. He was only damaging a small population.
Now we are in the world of COVID-19. A deadly disease. It should come as no surprise that Del moved into spreading misinformation about the pandemic. How better to grow his business? Gather donor/followers and make more money? And he has messages already prepared: fear vaccines, fear expert (except him*)
Yes, Mr. Bigtree has moved into giving people advice that COVID-19 is no problem. I’ve heard he went so far as to recommend people go out and get infected.
So, now Mr. Bigtree is a danger to the general population. To be more precise, he’s more of a danger. His anti-vaccine views have always posed a threat to the general population. But now the threat is immediate.
And now he’s off YouTube.
Mr Bigtree and his community are quick to claim that they suffer. Oh, let’s be honest, people like him love to be singled out. They love to claim that they are so important that the big powers are focused on them (why did it take so damned long if you are so important?). They love to play up the “I struggle to bring you the truth” message. In the end YouTube is a company, a company that both profited from Mr. Bigtree’s videos and (almost certainly) paid Mr. Bigtree based on views. YouTube was well within its rights to remove his misinformation. I’d argue strongly they had a duty to do so. YouTube shouldn’t be making money off efforts that lead to injury or death. They shouldn’t be paying someone to spread that information. And they have no obligation to provide Del Bigtree with a free platform to do so.
For those who have forgotten Mr. Bigtree (or never heard of him), he describes himself glowingly on his website. Here’s the final paragraph of his “Who is Del” blurb:
But Del is probably best known for his powerful speeches that weave shocking truth, searing wit and dynamic passion into an experience that is often described as electrifying.
Here is electrifying Del’s dynamic passion (or is it searing wit?):
By Matt Carey
* There are people who study medicine and infectious diseases. There are washed out musical theater actors (such as Mr Bigtree). The choice is obvious.