After Peter Hotez, a leading vaccine researcher and expert who helped develop the COVID vaccine Corbevax, called out Democratic presidential candidate and anti-vaxxer Robert R. Kennedy Jr for spreading “nonsense” on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Rogan offered Hotez $100,000 to debate Kennedy on his podcast.
Kennedy appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience on Thursday and repeated his claim that routine vaccinations cause autism.
That prompted Dr. Hotez, an MD/PhD who is Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, to label Kennedy’s statements as “misinformation.” Hotez retweeted Vice’s story “Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation” writing, “Just awful. And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense.”
Rogan then offered Hotez $100,000 to debate Kennedy on his podcast, to which Hotez responded, “Joe, you have my cell, you have my email, I’m always willing to speak to you.”
When Rogan called the reply a “non-answer,” the virologist responded, “Joe if you are serious about addressing vaccines + the fact that 200,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly perished during our awful delta/BA.1 Covid waves (including 40,000 in our state of Texas) because they fell victims to vaccine disinformation: I want to have that discussion.”
Dr. Hotez added, “I’m happy to come on and have a meaningful discussion. I respect you and your show and I don’t want an adversarial relationship. I think we can make some progress.”
Then Twitter owner Elon Musk jumped in to say of Dr. Hotez, “He’s afraid of a public debate, because he knows he’s wrong.”
To this, Dr. Hotez responded, “Seriously Elon? This is monstrous.”
Read the Twitter discourse below.