A Note on the Promotion of Andrew Tate

From GB News on Wednesday morning:

Andrew Tate has taken a swipe at Greta Thunberg and her green agenda in his latest series of tweets.

…Tate has mocked the activist by sharing an image of himself filling up his Bugatti with petrol and asking for her to send him an email address so he can detail the “enormous emissions” his cars let out.

…He responded later with a video of Thunberg speaking at the United Nations where she famously lambasted world leaders by telling them “This is all wrong, I shouldn’t be up here”, the clip has been edited and features clips of Tate driving his supercars and boarding private jets.

The article is credited to a “senior digital producer” at GB News, which is a title indicating something less than journalist – the channel specialises in rent-a-gob commentary and rarely if ever has an investigative scoop, and as such its general online news coverage tends to be derivative to the point of near-plagiarism (1).

In this instance, however, there wasn’t even a story – taunting environmental campaigners online by boasting about wasting energy or creating needless pollution is hardly remarkable or original. The main reason GB News chose to write up Tate’s Tweet was because they wanted to promote him, and perhaps in turn gain attention from his social media audiences. Thus the article also mentions that

Earlier this year, Tate appeared on GB News and called Meghan Markle’s race accusations disrespectful to people who have genuinely suffered from racism.

That was in June, although Tate made a second appearance earlier this month in which he was billed as a “social media sensation” after Elon Musk restored his Twitter account. In conversation with Dan Wootton, he described Covid as an “imaginary pandemic” – elsewhere, he has announced that he avoids sex with vaccinated women, a policy that I suspect is equally agreeable to such women, and in another clip he claims that Covid vaccines were created in order to control the population as a check on freedoms arising from the internet and cryptocurrencies (conspiracy influencer James Melville commended the clip, although he also made clear that he’s “not particularly a fan” of Tate).

The GB News article also included one other detail:

Thunberg is yet to respond to the tweet.

That was early on Wednesday morning; later that day, however, she replied with a mocking Tweet that went viral:

yes, please do enlighten me. email me at smalldickenergy@getalife.com

This one got picked up by the media, although for some reason GB News now thought the matter beneath their notice. In contrast, in the USA the Post-Millennial used Tweets from Matt Walsh and Iain Miles Cheong to try to build a narrative that Thurnberg had made herself look foolish by giving that as her supposed email address, which was also Tate’s own face-saving interpretation.

GB News’s promotion of Tate as a voice to be heard reflects his broader acceptance among conservative activists: at the 2019 CPAC conference he socialised with the likes of Paul Joseph Watson, Jack Posobiec and Candace Owens, and got photo-ops with Nigel Farage and Donald Trump Jnr. In the same year Mike Cernovich visited Tate’s residence in Romania, and Tommy Robinson is another friend. (2)

This embrace of Tate has occurred despite a history of unambiguous and coarsely expressed misogyny. He openly boasts about using predatory seduction techniques to recruit women into webcam work, and he has even filmed himself engaging in sadistic sexual role-play. Perhaps this was seen as primarily performative, but things have now taken a darker turn; as reported by BBC News:

The controversial British-American influencer Andrew Tate will be held in detention in Romania for 30 days, after a court agreed to a police request.

Tate was arrested alongside his brother Tristan on Thursday as part of an investigation into allegations of human trafficking and rape, which they deny.

Tate was previously arrested in April, and an investigation has apparently been going on for some months. Someone Tweeting on Tate’s behalf has alluded to “the Matrix” as an explanation, and his supporters allege that he is being persecuted, perhaps as a result of his Tweets to Thurnberg. There is a striking contrast between activist readiness to accuse “elites” of involvement in sexual criminality based on conspiracy theories and the doubt and scepticism being expressed now.

(H/T @CarlEveCrime for alerting me to the GB News article)


1. At one point last year it seemed that GB News had a real story about about bonuses at Channel 4, but it turned out that someone had simply sexed up two Press Association articles (used without credit). GB News oversold the story by alleging “corruption”, but then toned it down before deleting it.

2. In 2019 Tate engaged in some copycat harassment of Mike Stuchbery after Robinson made a night-time visit to Stuchbery’s home.

Andrew Bridgen MP Claims British Heart Foundation “Cover Up”, Amplifies False Claims by Aseem Malhotra

From a statement by the British Heart Foundation:

We do not recognise these claims and strongly refute all allegations made about colleagues in seniour leadership roles within the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

…We would encourage those making these serious allegations to share specific, credible information with us which supports them…

The BHF is here responding a claim made by Andrew Bridgen MP in Parliament last night that someone with “a prominent leadership role with the British Heart Foundation” is the lead at a cardiology research department that “is covering up clear data that reveals that the mRNA vaccine increases inflammation of the heart arteries”. This was based on the word of a unnamed “whistleblower”; Bridgen did not go into specific details, and it appears that he has made no attempt to raise the matter privately anywhere.

Bridgen was speaking as part of an adjournment debate he had called on the subject of “Vaccines: Potential Harms“. He put great emphasis on claims made by Aseem Malhotra, and it is likely that Malhotra and his circle provided Bridgen’s talking points. Malhotra also attended in person, and a photo shows him posing with Bridgen on the House of Commons Terrace. With typical modesty, Malhotra Tweeted that the speech in which he was commended by Bridgen was “the most important parliamentary speech you will see”. Malhotra was previously at Parliament a few weeks ago, having been invited to an event by Christopher Chope MP.

As is well known, Malhotra recently published a review essay in a lesser-known medical journal in which he made extraordinary claims about the prevalence of Covid vaccination harms, based largely on personal anecdotes and his interpretation of statistics (not his field). The essay (which appeared in two parts) was peer reviewed, and his supporters believe that this amounts to scientific canonisation. Bridgen asserted that “there has so far not been a single rebuttal of Dr Malhotra’s findings in the scientific literature”, presumably discounting out of hand the exhaustive enumerations of his work’s shortcomings made by various scientists (e.g here and here, as well as a Health Feedback critique).

Bridgen also stated – while giving a false impression that he was now referring to a different paper – that it had been

accepted by a peer-reviewed medical journal that one of the country’s most respected and decorated general practitioners, the honorary vice-president of the British Medical Association and the Labour party’s doctor of the year, Dr Kailash Chand, likely suffered a cardiac arrest and was tragically killed by the Pfizer vaccine six months after his second dose, through a mechanism that rapidly accelerates heart disease.

Chand was actually Malhotra’s father, and this narrative of his demise features in his paper. However, Malhotra provided zero evidence of any such “mechanism”, and the speculation is fantastical. Bridgen’s presentation of this detail is disingenuous and I would say verges on misleading parliament. It must also be noted (albeit reluctantly, for reasons of taste) that Malhotra has so far failed to clarify whether his father shared his controversial views about diet and avoiding statins, which may be more pertinent to understanding why Chand died (and why Malhotra is so desperate for it to be someone else’s fault).

However, despite leaning heavily on Malhotra’s credentials as a “peer-reviewed” authority, Bridgen also suggested that the vaccines are unsafe because scientific research in general is in a poor state:

In 2015 a commentary by Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, suggested that possibly half of the published medical literature “may simply be untrue”. He wrote that “science has taken a turn toward darkness”, and asked who is going to take the first step to clean up the system. (1)


Furthermore, the former editor of The BMJ, Richard Smith, claims that research misconduct is rife and is not effectively being tackled in the UK institutions, stating: “Something is rotten in…British medicine and has been for a long time”.

Those two items can be seen here and here. Ironically, the various shortcomings and problems outlined by Horton actually explain how Malhotra got his essay into print:

In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours… Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations.

Malhotra’s self-marketing has been largely organised by one James Freeman (formerly known as “James Wells”), a former Brexit Party MEP who makes regular appearances on conspiracy podcasts (such as here with David Icke’s son Gareth). Following Bridgen’s speech, Freeman Tweeted at the CEO of the British Heart Foundation, demanding to know “Were you aware of this @iCharmaine?” Predictably, his many followers have chimed in with more explicit allegations of wrongdoing and corruption.

Others who have enjoyed Andrew Bridgen’s confidence in recent years include disgraced former chief constable Mike Veale, convicted stalker Alex Belfield, and (apparently) Satanic Ritual Abuse obsessive Jon Wedger.

UPDATE: Jon Bye has a more detailed breakdown of Bridgen’s speech, noting that the anecdote about a “whistleblower” appears to have been taken directly from Malhotra.

Also (links click through to the Tweets, where there are also screenshots of sources):

Bridgen directly quotes Malhotra’s paper, saying that the absolute risk reduction during the Pfizer trials was only 0.84%.

But this was over a short period during which prevalence of the virus was relatively low. So largely irrelevant by the time it was rolled out.

Bridgen falsely claims that covid vaccines give “no protection against infection at all”, and ignores all the studies showing there’s more than just “hope” that they “protect us from serious illness and death”. He caps this by citing “real world data” from .. HART.

Having wrongly dismissed “the benefits of the vaccine” as “close to non-existent”, Bridgen cribs from Malhotra’s paper again, this time making questionable claims about how common serious adverse effects are, and citing a paper co-authored by Peter Doshi.

Bridgen repeats Malhotra’s unevidenced claim that his father was “killed by the Pfizer vaccine”, before blaming “many” other cardiac arrests on covid vaccines. This is based on more HART data, and an FOI request that says completely the opposite to what Malhotra claims.

For variety, Bridgen also quotes an earlier article by Malhotra, suggesting the MHRA has conflicts of interest because it’s mostly funded by (registration fees paid by) the pharmaceutical industry, even quoting the exact same passages from an article by Donald Light.

Then it’s back to Malhotra’s “paper”, as Bridgen cites an “investigation” (by HART’s Zoe Harcombe) into the JCVI and its (indirect) links to conspiracy theorist favourite Bill Gates, before saying big pharma “has been described as psychopathic” (by .. er .. Malhotra).


1. Hansard currently misspells Horton as “Richard Houghton”. He recently attended a lecture given by Malhotra at Friends’ Meeting House in London, and his urbane account can be read here.  He wrote:

Malhotra’s method of argument deserves scrutiny to understand why it persuades some people. Frame one’s view as the reluctant endpoint of a personal journey. Quote respected scientists. Stand up to corporates. Place oneself firmly on the side of patients. Emphasise well described concerns about the presentation of research evidence. Allude to correlations. Make the call for access to raw data an issue of trust and transparency.

He then noted some audience interjections, including an extravagant “bioweapon” claims. In his view: “This descent into unreason is what happens when you inflame public anxieties”.

Some Notes on Elon Musk and a Moral Entrepreneur

From Joseph Menn at the Washington Post:

Elon Musk escalated his battle of words with previous managers of Twitter into risky new territory over the weekend… implying that the company’s former head of trust and safety had a permissive view of sexual activity by minors.

…In the Spaces session late Friday, Musk seemed to agree with a host known as Eliza Bleu that [former Twitter safety chief Yoel] Roth and his staff had been too busy censoring conservatives to provide resources to identify and block abusive child sex material. Bleu is an activist podcaster who wrote three columns this year on conspiracy promoter Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze…. Bleu, who last year tweeted a photo of herself with Pizzagate promoter and alt-right provocateur Mike Cernovich, was joined on the Spaces session by Ella Irwin, who was hired by Twitter in June and was promoted to trust and safety head after Roth’s departure.

…In response Sunday to questions she said she’d received about her own claim of having been trafficked, which she has not detailed, Bleu tweeted that she had reluctantly come forward as a public advocate in 2020 by speaking to conservative Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire.

On Twitter, Bleu also drew Musk’s attention to a 2010 Tweet by Roth asking “Can high school students ever meaningly consent to sex with their teachers?” as evidence that Roth would have been predisposed to corrupting Twitter’s safety standards – the old “bit.ly” url included with the Tweet failed to show that he was referring to a Salon article about a teacher charged over sex with an 18-year-old student. Roth is now reportedly in hiding due to threats against him, some of which have been allowed to persist on Twitter despite reports. Menn is also now being subjected to “pedo”-themed abuse (see replies and quote-tweets here).

At various times last year, Bleu Tweeted that “the world is ran by a satanic pedo ring” or “evil pedo ring”, each time for some reason using “is ran” rather than “is run”. Menn has RTed one example of this, presumably as evidence that Musk is aligning with QAnon-esque excesses, although it doesn’t feature in his article. Perhaps her assertion was meant to express frustration at the injustices of the world rather than being a serious proposition, but without an explanation it can only serve to inflame conspiracy worldviews. (1)

Shortly after Musk’s purchase of Twitter, Bleu wrote a Newsweek op-ed headlined “While Blue Checks Whine About Extremism, Elon Musk Is Protecting Sexually Exploited Children”. Bleu referred to an ongoing legal action involving two complainants who that allege Twitter failed to remove images of their underage sexual exploitation, and on the issue more broadly she says that she found a meeting with Twitter corporate arranged personally by then CEO Jack Dorsey to be “a waste of time”.

Bleu has been cited in the media as a “survivor” more than once, but it is difficult to reconcile the centrality of her personal experience to her credentials as a moral entrepreneur with the fact that, as Menn notes, she has “not detailed” her story. She has, however, stated that she was exploited after relocating to Los Angeles aged 17 in search of fame, and that “the man who promised her heaven on earth sold her to another man for a mere $500”. She further claims that this was “the beginning of an ordeal that was to last for over 15 years”.

Bleu was 17 years old in 2002; during the same period she was a student who was earning extra money cutting hair for pop bands on tour. In this capacity she met and started dating Gerard Way, frontman of the band My Chemical Romance, stating that Way dominated her life “for the next 4-5 years”. In 2006 she appeared on Blind Date, and from there went on to gain an online profile associated with social media influencers.

This doesn’t preclude the possibility that there was also some hidden malign and coercive presence in her life, perhaps appearing intermittently, but it raises reasonable questions. However, when Menn contacted her for comment, she did not reply, “instead tagging the reporter in a tweeted obscenity”. We might also ask why no police reports have been made or legal actions launched, particularly now that she has Musk’s patronage.

UPDATE (2 February 2023): Bleu’s backstory has come under critical scrutiny from the Daily Beast, under the headline “Eliza Bleu’s Own Friends Aren’t Buying Her Trafficking Story”. The story confirms her original identity as Eliza Morthland, daughter of Richard Morthland. Her father is a “former Illinois state representative who ran unsuccessfully on the GOP ticket for lieutenant governor in 2018”. I noticed an exchange on Twitter in which it was claimed that Bleu’s father had run for governor – I thought it was a tell that she seized on this as an error made by a critic but failed to clarify that it was close to the truth.


1. Despite refusing to engage with Menn ahead of publication (“go fuck yourself” – here), she now complains that he failed to mention that she had previously spoken against QAnon “misinformation”. She cites a 2020 NBC News article by Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, even though that article refers to her only as “Eliza”, whose “last name is being withheld to protect her identity from former abusers”; and a November 2022 Washington Post article by Taylor Lorenz which noted that she had “attempted to swat down” conspiracy theories about the “Gas” app.

Isabel Oakeshott Sensationalises On Matt Hancock Memoir

From Isabel Oakeshott in The Spectator:

Published this week, co-authored by me, [Matt] Hancock’s Pandemic Diaries are the first insider account from the heart of government of the most seismic political, economic and public health crisis of our times.

…As far as Hancock was concerned, anyone who fundamentally disagreed with his approach was mad and dangerous and needed to be shut down. His account shows how quickly the suppression of genuine medical misinformation – a worthy endeavour during a public health crisis – morphed into an aggressive government-driven campaign to smear and silence those who criticised the response. Aided by the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health harnessed the full power of the state to crush individuals and groups whose views were seen as a threat to public acceptance of official messages and policy. As early as January 2020, Hancock reveals that his special adviser was speaking to Twitter about ‘tweaking their algorithms’. Later he personally texted his old coalition colleague Nick Clegg, now a big cheese at Facebook, to enlist his help. The former Lib Dem deputy prime minister was happy to oblige.

Such was the fear of ‘anti-vaxxers’ that the Cabinet Office used a team hitherto dedicated to tackling Isis propaganda to curb their influence. The zero-tolerance approach extended to dissenting doctors and academics. The eminent scientists behind the so-called Barrington Declaration, which argued that public health efforts should focus on protecting the most vulnerable while allowing the general population to build up natural immunity to the virus, were widely vilified: Hancock genuinely considered their views a threat to public health.

This passage is being celebrated by the conspiracy crowd as evidence that the way in which the UK responded to the Covid pandemic crisis was no more than a  contrived “narrative” created by government-directed media manipulation, but which they themselves saw through and resisted.

However, having had a look at the relevant passages in Hancock’s memoir on Google Books, it seems to me that Oakeshott is sensationalising and even misrepresenting the work that she helped to create. On the Cabinet Office team, Hancock refers to

…worrying research suggesting that as many as half of Americans and a fifth of people living in the UK will decline the jab. A load of nutters are putting it about that it is part of some great global conspiracy, and we need to limit their influence.

We’ve pulled together a team from the Cabinet Office that was involved in tackling Daesh propaganda during the existence of the Caliphate. The online campaign they led was based on providing an overwhelming counter-narrative. Instead of focusing on responding directly to false claims, the main effort is to provide clear, objective positive material.

Nothing here about a campaign to “smear and silence” – and it’s not at all clear how this relates to the supposed “vilification” of Barrington authors. Oakeshott merely juxtaposes Hancock’s scepticism about the authors with a reference to the cabinet team to create an impression.


We are starting to think about how the social media companies can help. Jamie has spoken to Twitter and they’re going to tweak their algorithms so when people search for ‘coronavirus’ and various other key terms, they’ll go to our offical guidance page

…Clegg may have looked a mess when he Zoomed me from Yellowstone, but he got straight onto it re. combatting fake news. Facebook has taken down a wild-eyed Trump post declaring that children are ‘almost immune’ to coronovirus. Twitter followed suit.

Hancock’s media adviser Jamie Njoku-Goodwin speaking to Twitter is hardly “harnessing the full power of the state to crush individuals and groups”, a ludicrously overheated interpretation.

Some Spectator readers may infer that Oakeshott is giving an an unexpurgated account that goes beyond Hancock’s own authorised version. But she doesn’t say that, and she doesn’t provide any extra context that would justify the spin she’s put on her cherry-picked details. Indeed, context has actually been removed.

Oakeshott came under some criticism from the conspiracy crowd for agreeing to write the book with (for?) Hancock, and also when she coaxed Hancock into a recording studio in June for an interview alongside James Melville on the subject of cryptocurrency. However, all is now forgiven – one “social media campaigner” and GB News regular, June Slater, has written:

I apologise for doubting Richard Tice and Isabel Oakshott’s [sic] involvement with Matt Hancock’s book.

As her Spectator article proves today, it was a long game, a quest for truth, to ensure the government and minister could never lock us down or mandate drugs again.

Balenciaga: Pizzagate Has Risen from the Grave

From Newsweek:

The owner of fashion brand Balenciaga has been targeted on social media over what some have branded a “disturbing” selection of child-themed art pieces that have been hosted and sold on its auction website.

…The mannequins featured on the Christie’s website were made by artists Jake and Dinos Chapman and show depictions of naked children, a number of whom are conjoined.

The children depicted are not just naked or conjoined: in one item sold by Christie’s auction house and archived on its website is entitled Fuckface, and consists of a boy with a phallus for a nose above a gaping orifice.

François-Henri Pinault is CEO Groupe Artémis, which owns Christie’s along with a number of other high-end companies and brands. This includes Kering, a fashion group that in turn includes Balenciaga. The suggestion is that Balenciaga’s recent regrettable photo-shoots and the Chapman Brothers’ artwork are both examples of a sinister conspiracy that Newsweek does not delve into but which presumably involves co-oridinated efforts to “normalise” the unspeakable, or to taunt the public with hints and signs of “elite” degeneracy.

The are obvious parallels here with Pizzagate and QAnon – significantly, Pinault’s wife is the Hollywood actress Selma Hayek – as well as other attempts to discern sinister hidden meanings in art and symbols. Some social media coverage also gives the false impression that the mannequins are being mass produced as sex dolls (e.g. Dominique Samuels: “The CEO of Balenciaga’s parent company, Kering, sells sickening child sex mannequins”), despite their grotesque characteristics.

Also drawn into the story is a Russian-born stylist named Lotta Volkova, who has worked with Balenciaga in the past. Another Newsweek article has the details:

Following the backlash some people dug up content of several former and current staff at Balenciaga, including Volkova.

Christian commentator Oli London took four posts from her Instagram which portrayed scenes of violence and Satanic images.

…The images shared by London included one of a woman who is nude from the waist down, lying on a pentagram on the floor where she is tied up by rope.

A satanic-looking figure sits on a pentagram-shaped throne at her head, also nude from the waist down, with smoke coming out of his upturned hands.

Shades here of the Pizzagate obsession with Marina Abramovic. Oli London has also targeted Rachel Chandler, a modelling agent worked with Balenciaga in 2016. London alleges that Chandler had visited Jeffrey Epstein‘s island (unconfirmed, and perhaps extrapolated from a photo of Chandler with Bill Clinton), and from this he asserts that “Balenciaga is deeply involved in child abuse and exploitation”. He outlined this theory in the UK on GB News, in conversation with the broadcaster’s resident televangelist Calvin Robinson.

The Chapman brothers’ child mannequins date from the mid-1990s, and they have always been controversial. Police visited the Victoria Miro Gallery in London when some were displayed there in 1994, and one item was removed from display in Italy in 2014 following protests following allegations that it was “paedo-pornographic”.

The mannequins have been put into context by Kieran Cashell in a book called Aftershock: The Ethics of Contemporary Transgressive Art (I.B.Tauris, 2009). His interpretation is that the Chapmans may “cynically and shamelessly appropriate morally transgressive material purely for its controversial currency”, but that their work may also “be considered a critical interrogation of the capacity of the culture industry to indemnify every artistic transgression according to the implicit moral approbation conferred by the aesthetic attitude”. Further:

…the idea of their bizarre configurations being considered conduits of paedophilic desire seems highly unlikely… The specific distortions the plastic children have endured at the hands of the Chapman brothers become successful objective analogues of psychological damage caused by sexual abuse. Physical interference, in this instance, is transformed into an effective simulacrum of aggravated psychological harm.

Perhaps, in 2022, such art is even more problematic now than it was in previous decades, and its visibility should be weighed against other considerations – although if the work of the Chapman brothers disappears from view I look forward to the usual laments about “cancel culture” and assertions of the right to cause offence and upset.

UPDATE: Another claim is that one photo includes a roll of Balenciaga yellow tape, which has been deliberately misprinted as “BAALENCIAGA” as a reference to Baal. In the photo only the letters “AALEN” are properly visible. It seems to me more likely that the tape starts with a truncacted “ALENCIAGA” and then wraps around so that the second printing of “BALENCIAGA”  – or perhaps the first “BA” of the third printing – aligns with the first word on the top layer, creating a double-A effect. However, even if that is the explanation believers will just say it was staged that way deliberately.

In the UK, the claim featured on GB News in a conversation between Mark Steyn and Eva Vlaardingerbroek, billed as a “legal philosopher” but better known as a former FvD candidate now based in Sweden and associated with the Sweden Democrats.