6 controversial falsehoods that Robert F Kennedy Jr has promoted: From vaccines to gender dysphoria

6 controversial falsehoods that Robert F Kennedy Jr has promoted: From vaccines to gender dysphoria
Over the years, Robert F Kennedy Jr has relied on misinformation to bring up baseless conspiracy claims (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

6 controversial claims made by independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr

(Getty Images)
Robert F Kennedy Jr is infamous for promoting baseless conspiracy theories (Getty Images)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr is no stranger to promoting baseless conspiracy theories. A member of America's famous Kennedy clan, the environmental lawyer is infamous for being a vaccine skeptic and heavily relying on misinformation. Kennedy's 2024 presidential bid, though it might not end in the White House, could be a decisive factor in the outcome of the Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch. Here are six noteworthy falsehoods the independent White House hopeful has promoted over the years.

1. Childhood vaccines cause autism

(Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
Robert F Kennedy Jr falsely claimed mercury-based preservatives in children's vaccines caused autism (Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)

As a prominent anti-vaccine movement face, Kennedy's vaccine skepticism is not a new phenomenon. In 2005, he published an article that falsely claimed childhood vaccines caused autism. According to the baseless article, autism in children was linked to mercury-based preservative thimerosal. However, the National Academy of Medicine refuted the claims after reviewing eight vaccines for children and adults. Despite rare exceptions, the vaccines were found to be very safe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates profiting from Covid-19 vaccines

(Getty Images)
Robert F Kennedy Jr claimed Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates profited from Covid-19 vaccines (Getty Images)

One of the many Covid-19 vaccine criticisms of Kennedy was in connection with Anthony Fauci, former Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. In a book last year, the anti-vaxxer falsely asserted Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, and Gates received profits from Covid-19 vaccines. Kennedy also accused without proof that the ex-chief medical advisor to the president had a financial share in Moderna, a pharmaceutical firm behind one of the Covid-19 vaccines.

3. Linking gender dysphoria and chemical exposure

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. visits
Robert F Kennedy Jr falsely linked gender dysphoria to chemical exposure (Getty Images)

Kennedy falsely linked gender dysphoria to chemical exposure during an interview in April. Speaking to Jordan Peterson, a conservative Canadian psychologist, the presidential hopeful said, "A lot of the problems we see in kids, particularly boys, it's probably underappreciated how much of that is coming from chemical exposures, including a lot of sexual dysphoria that we're seeing." He cited research that said scientists found herbicide and atrazine "induces complete feminization and chemical castration" in particular frogs. However, there is no evidence to prove that these chemicals, which are usually used to remove weeds, cause gender dysphoria in humans.

4. School shootings occur due to the use of antidepressants

Suicidal man holding number of pills in hand
Robert F Kennedy Jr promoted the conspiracy theory that antidepressants caused 'homicidal tendencies' (Getty Images)

Kennedy has often argued that mass shootings in US schools were due to an increase in the use of antidepressants. "Kids always had access to guns, and there was no time in American history or human history where kids were going to schools and shooting their classmates," he recently told comedian Bill Maher during the 'Club Random With Bill Maher' podcast. "It really started happening conterminous with the introduction of these drugs, with Prozac and the other drugs." Ragy Girgis, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, pointed out that the scientific community has found "no biological plausibility" to connect both issues despite the increase in the use of antidepressants and mass shootings lately. Kennedy, however, falsely suggested the warnings about suicidal thoughts while consuming antidepressants indicated the possibility of "homicidal tendencies."

5. Theory on CIA assassinating his uncle, President John F Kennedy

UNDATED FILE PHOTO:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY)  (FILE PHOTO)  U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is s
Robert F Kennedy Jr, without proof, alleged the CIA was behind President John F Kennedy's assassination (Getty Images)

Another conspiracy theory promoted by Kennedy was about his uncle, former President John F Kennedy's assassination. According to the White House hopeful, the CIA was behind his uncle's killing. In a Fox News interview last month, Kennedy baselessly argued that Allen W Dulles, a CIA director who former President Kennedy fired, helped to hide the organization's role in the assassination during his service on the 1963 Warren Commission that investigated the killing. "Most of the people in that investigation believed it was the CIA that was behind it because the evidence was so overwhelming to them," he said, citing a 1976 House committee inquiry. However, the Commission concluded that the killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, had no involvement with any other individual, and, despite the possibility of a conspiracy, President Kenndey was not killed by the CIA.

6. GOP stole the 2004 presidential election

 John Kerry,  George W. Bush (Getty Images)
John Kerry conceded to George W Bush in the 2004 presidential election (Getty Images)

Since 2006, Kennedy promoted the notion that Republicans stole the 2004 presidential election, claiming John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, won it and not George W Bush. In a 2006 article on Rolling Stone, he asserted the GOP "mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people. To reflect former President Bush, the party "prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted." However, Kerry conceded to Bush after losing by a margin of 35 electoral colleges at the national level, and the latter won in Ohio, securing above 118,000 votes.

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