Manly Sea Eagles prop Martin Taupau has condemned a social media troll and coronavirus conspiracy theorist as a “covidiot” for claiming he was dead. In a Twitter post shared 102 times and featuring an emoji of a middle finger extended, Taupau told the troll: “Psssst F*wit! @Lolita721611021 🖕🏻🤬 get your facts right before you write this sort of garbage #covidiot”
The troll, @Lolita721611021, a devout Donald Trump supporter who goes by the moniker Thinking_Out_Loud, is opposed to Covid-19 vaccinations and re-tweets far-right conspiracy theories.
Taupau was incensed when she posted a spurious claim featuring a dozen photos of star athletes from around the world with the caption “All of these young sportsmen have recently died of sudden heart failure, all vaxxed.”
Taupau was among the collection of athletes who had supposedly “died”. Taupau has since deleted his tweet, and so too has the misinformed troll.
The alarmist post was a reworking of a 28 Oct 2021 article in Germany by Report24, a conservative news service with an editorial slant sceptical of the coronavirus pandemic. The news service strongly opposes vaccines to combat the spread of the virus.
Their article listed 75 European athletes that they claimed died ‘suspiciously’ in the previous five months and imply that these were all attributable to coronavirus vaccinations.
Although Report24 stated in a disclaimer: “We do not claim that all of these people became ill and died because of the vaccination”, they added, “Here is the list of horrors, starting in June 2021 – when the vaccination campaigns were in full swing and everyone who blindly trusted the system already had their second shot.”
On 19 Nov 2021, PolitiFact website, which debunks conspiracy theories circulating on social media, explained “Of the 75 athletes included on the list, not all died and not all were vaccinated against COVID-19. Some who died had a history of heart problems or family history of death by heart attack.”
However, the Report24 article was translated and published by Conservative Daily Post in America, where it was in turn revised and shared on social media by coronavirus sceptics and anti-vaxxers to include international athletes supposedly deceased by heart attacks attributable to Covid-19 vaccines – among them Martin Taupau.
Despite being caught out, Lolita721611021 continues to spread misinformation about Covid-19.
In a Twitter post on 18 January, she condemned the restriction of horse medicine Ivermectin for coronavirus treatment. “Given that almost all disease – especially cancer – is caused by PARASITIC INFECTION, is it any wonder Big Pharma has paid govts to make Ivermectin inaccessible?”
Ivermectin is formulated to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice, and skin conditions like rosacea (severe facial reddening). On 10 Sept 2021 Australian health authority Therapeutic Goods Association issued a serious warning against Ivermectin use as a coronavirus ‘cure’.
“Ivermectin is not approved for use in COVID-19 in Australia or in other developed countries, and its use by the general public for COVID-19 is currently strongly discouraged by the National COVID Clinical Evidence Taskforce, the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration.”
Meanwhile, Taupau is delighting Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles’ fans after he was seen this week training with the team in preparation for the 2022 season. The 31-year-old star player, who has played at international level for both New Zealand and Samoa, was rumoured to be considering transfer offers. As recently as Jan 17, Zero Tackle rugby news speculated Taupau might move to another club, perhaps The Dolphins, the new rugby league club in Brisbane to be managed by South Sydney Rabbitohs’ coach Wayne Bennett, set to join the NRL premiership in 2023.
The Sea Eagles came 4th in the 2021 season premiership, thanks in part to Taupau’s bruising defence and spirited offensive playing.