— John Scalzi (@scalzi) December 22, 2021
David Gilbert, at Vice: People Got Sick at a Conspiracy Conference. They’re Sure It’s Anthrax
A group of unvaccinated people who attended a huge conspiracy conference in Dallas earlier this month all became sick in the days after the event with symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, and fever. Instead of blaming the global COVID pandemic, however, the conspiracy theorists think they were attacked with anthrax.
The anthrax claim was first made by Joe Oltmann on his Conservative Daily podcast earlier this week. In a video recording of the podcast, Oltmann can be seen coughing and sneezing on camera, symptoms often associated with COVID-19 or other illnesses.
Instead, Oltmann, who has spent much of 2021 spreading bogus election conspiracies, claimed that he and his fellow conspiracy theorists who recently attended the conference had been attacked by anthrax. The conference, run by Tulsa businessman Clay Clark, was headlined by figures like disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Eric Trump, the son of former President Donald Trump, also spoke at the event.
“There’s a 99.9% chance it’s anthrax,” Oltmann said on his podcast, even though no one had tested positive for anthrax poisoning and none of the other 3,500 attendees have so far reported suffering the effects of anthrax.
Oltmann claimed that he and up to a dozen other people who were in the green room at an event fell ill over the following days..
While Oltmann said he was “sick, sick,” he claimed his symptoms were tempered because he was already taking the antibiotic doxycycline as a result of impaling his leg on an arrow in an accident in his brother’s garage weeks previously…
After Oltmann made his initial claim, other conspiracy-minded folk highlighted a video from the event that showed a fog machine operating during the conference, suggesting that this is how the anthrax was spread—ignoring the fact that no anthrax outbreak has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or any other agency…
The jokes, they write themselves! (especially considering anthrax is usually contracted, these days, via contact with hoofed livestock). It would be funnier, if these chowderheads weren’t spreading their ‘anthrax’ around their neighborhoods.
.@KELLYWEILL and I spoke with Clay Clark, ReAwaken America Tour’s lead organizer, who told The Daily Beast he had hired "well-trained dogs to look for any potential bio-weapons" and "drugs.” https://t.co/CbsEyxjOZX
— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) December 22, 2021