Aseem Malhotra Accuses Newspapers of “Racism” After Criticism of BBC Interview

An announcement from cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra:

I’m considering taking legal action against the Guardian and the Times for racism. This is sickening.

Malhotra, as is well known, has recently beome a high-profile Covid vaccination alarmist: a few months ago, he published a review article in an obscure journal called the Journal of Insulin Resistance in which he made extravagant claims about the risks of vaccination; since then, he has been engaged in relentless media amplification and activist networking (assisted by former Brexit Party MEP James Freeman Wells), which most recently led to him being championed in the House of Commons by Andrew Bridgen MP.

Prior to his anti-Covid vaccination activism, Malhotra was known for his criticisms of statin prescriptions, and it was in this capacity that he was invited onto the BBC News channel on Friday to respond to advice by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence that the NHS should make them more widely available. However, he predictably seized the opportunity to promote vaccination alarmism:

…my own father suffered a cardiac arrest at home… and when his post-mortem came out he had very severe coronary artery disease which is unexplainable. I then published in a peer reviewed journal, they accepted my findings that the likely cause of his death was two doses of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine he had six months earlier….

He also referred to an article by other authors, published in Vaccine – this can be identified as a paper by Joseph Fraiman et al., which has come under criticism. Perhaps concious of how far he could push his digression, Malhotra toned down his absolute rejection of Covid vaccination, adding that it “has certainly helped people who are high risk” and suggesting that the rollout should be paused due to the mildness of the Omicron variant.

Following his interview, he uploaded the clip to Twitter, along with a boast: “We did it. We broke mainstream broadcast media”. Just as he milks his review article’s peer reviewed status as evidence of scientific standing, we can expect “as featured on BBC News” to now be another rhetorical strategy to compensate for the fact that his scientific peers have raised numerous criticisms and objections to his claims that remain unaddressed.

Why was he invited onto BBC News? He is candid on Twitter:

I’ve been the most vocal publishing papers & discussing in mainstream more than anyone in the world criticising statin prescription over the years. They came to me last minute & junior BBC producer had no idea I’d mention mRNA. Spontaneous by me as had 7 min.

Later the same morning, BBC News invited on an immunologist named Peter Openshaw to provide, in his words, a “rapid response interview”; he says that “the staff seemed alarmed and embarrassed that they had given [Malhotra] a platform”. Frustratingly, however, it is impossible to see it anywhere. Malhotra’s interview appeared during the segment from 9 am to 10 am, which is then uploaded to the BBC iPlayer for 24 hours, whereas Openshaw’s response featured during the segment following, which is not made available online at all. Further, Malhotra’s uploaded clip has had millions of views on social media.

The BBC fiasco was written up by the Guardian under the headline “BBC criticised for letting cardiologist ‘hijack’ interview with false Covid jab claim”, and featuring responses from Dr Stephen Griffin, virologist at the University of Leeds (who made the “hijack” comment); Prof Marc Dweck, chair of clinical cardiology at the University of Edinburgh; and Dr Matt Kneale, the co-chair of the Doctors’ Association. In response to the responses, Malhotra has amplified a Tweet from someone alleging that they have conflicts of interest and that this is “the real story”. Similarly, Malhotra supporter James Melville pointed to the fact that the Guardian has a Global Development section that receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The word “hijack” in the Guardian headline caught the attention of fringe-right activist and GB News presenter Laurence Fox, who alleged that this is the “language of terrorism” being used to “smear a cardiologist of colour”. Malhotra quotes Fox’s Tweet directly in his legal threat against the paper.

Malhotra’s legal threat to The Times, meanwhile, relates to an article headlined “Andrew Bridgen, the MP who was ‘groomed by gangs of antivaxers'”. This was published yesterday as further context for Bridgen losing the whip:

Those involved in the government’s vaccine roll-out, which Bridgen had lauded, said his case was a classic example of “radicalisation” by antivaxers who operate like “grooming gangs”.

In the tweet that prompted his suspension, Bridgen recounted a conversation about vaccine safety with an unnamed consultant who told him: “This is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”

This unnamed source, according to Bridgen, was an Israeli (2), but it is Malhotra who features prominently in the article, which includes a photograph of Bridgen and Malhotra standing together on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament (3). Malhotra and his supporters, including Fox, suggest that the juxtaposition of an Asian man next to a headline about “grooming” was deliberately meant to evoke stereotypical connotations.

Bridgen is also currently considering legal action to protect his reputation: his Holocaust comparison caused great offence, and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has gone so far as to call it not just irresponsible or in bad taste but as being actually anti-semitic. In response, Bridgen says “I will allow Matt three days to apologise publicy for calling me an antisemite and racist or he will be contacted by my legal team”. This sense of grievance is difficult to take given that Bridgen has implied that Hancock has been involved in the worst crime since the Holocaust.

If Malhotra is in need of a lawyer, perhaps Fox can help – he knows several via his “Bad Law Project“, and he is currently being sued for libel.


(1) Malhotra had no “findings” about his father’s death – he instead deployed dubious statistics in the service of a speculation derived from his personal incredulity. As far as I know, Malhotra has never addressed whether or not his father had stopped taking statins on his advice, or if he was following his controversial dietary advice.

(2) Bridgen has been supported by Josh Guetzkow, a senior lecturer in criminology and sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was quoted in Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic as saying that “there is nothing at all anti-Semitic about his statement”. It’s possible that Bridgen has become confused in his recollection about who made the Holocaust comparison, although his belated attribution to a Jewish source after being criticised and condemned is convenient.

UPDATE (19 Jan): In an argument with Iain Dale, Bridgen now complains:

You also state that I was quoting an anonymous cardiologist who is also Israeli – ‘how convenient’ – this is untrue. My now deleted tweet referred to a paper written by an Israeli social scientist. Dr Josh Guetzkow. At no point have I stated the cardiologist I was referring to is an Israeli, in fact, I have not named them.

In his video statement, Bridgen said “the Israeli doctor I quoted in my tweet has stated that there was noting anti-Semitic about the statement”. Given that his Tweet began with “As one consultant cardiologist said to me”, it was reasonable to suppose that this is what he meant by the “quote”, and this is why The Times wrote it up as “the MP said the cardiologist he quoted was an Israeli”.

However, his Tweet also included a link to Zerohedge page entitled “CDC Finally Releases VAERS Safety Monitoring Analyses For COVID Vaccines”. The page consists of a long piece authored by Guetzkow, re-uploaded from somewhere else.

So, as I suspected, it was indeed Guetzkow who provided Bridgen with his defence. For some reason, Bridgen referred to him in his statement as “an Israeli doctor” rather than as “an Israeli academic”, and he said he “quoted” him rather than that he linked to his work. This created a misleading impression, that he is now complaining about. It also directed attention away from the actual source of his Holocaust quote.

(3) I noted how Bridgen has come under the influence of the conspiracy movement last week.

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