Far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks that the monkeypox outbreak is something to “laugh at”, according to an interview.
In a clip published by right-wing extremist watchdog PatriotTakes, Greene is heard saying that because the outbreak is only a “threat to some of the population”, people should dismiss it as another “scam.”
“It’s not a threat to most of the population, and so it’s not a global pandemic, it’s really not, and people just have to laugh at it, mock it, and reject it. It’s another scam,” she said.
Greene also called monkeypox “basically a sexually transmitted disease” despite there being no concrete evidence that the disease can be transmitted sexually.
Marjorie Taylor Greene urged people to laugh and mock the monkeypox “scam,” dismissing it as “a sexually transmitted disease” only threatening a specific group of people.
Greene: “People have to laugh at it, mock it, and reject it. It’s another scam.” pic.twitter.com/GB3UvcPZTy
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) July 26, 2022
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers are still determining “whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or faeces” and have only currently determined that it can spread through skin-to-skin contact, which can happen during “intimate contact”.
PatriotTakes then said that Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared to be “implying monkeypox can be mocked because she believes it only targets LGBTQ+ people” in a follow-up tweet.
After the World Health Organization declared the growing outbreak a global health emergency, experts emphasised that anyone can get monkeypox and warned against reinforcing “homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbating stigma”.
Despite the UK Health Security Agency reporting that gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by monkeypox, several experts have emphasised that it is not a “gay disease”. UKHSA epidemiologist Mateo Prochazka outlined his concern that the “discourse around this infection is going to become more prevalent and intersect with discourses that are homophobic”, in an interview with PinkNews in May.
“Gay and bisexual men usually have larger numbers of sex partners and are more likely to have anonymous sexual partners as well,” he said, “and this can lead to direct contact that may not be seen in other sexual networks with the same frequency.
“It might be that the pathogen has now entered those networks and is being spread that way. It does not mean that gay or bisexual men are doing anything inherently wrong, or that the virus has changed or that it’s sexually transmitted, it just means that this behaviour facilitates transmission in these networks.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene is a shining example of the intersection between monkeypox misinformation and homophobic rhetoric. The self-described “Christian nationalist” has pushed a multitude of conspiracy theories regarding the disease, including a tweet that once again used the false claim that it is an STI to link monkeypox and child sexual abuse.
She also claimed that Democrats are trying to “turn kids gay and transgender” in a 19 May episode of her podcast while celebrating that Elon Musk “finally stopped being a Democrat!”