Newsmax’s White House reporter Emerald Robinson tweeted a bizarre conspiracy theory.
The tweet falsely alleged the COVID-19 vaccine contains a “bioluminescent marker” to track people.
The network quickly released a statement disavowing Robinson’s position.
Right-wing news network Newsmax distanced itself from one of its top reporters Thursday after she tweeted a bizarre false claim about the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it contains a bioluminescent marker that enables tracking.
The network’s White House correspondent Emerald Robinson tweeted: “Dear Christians: The vaccines contain a bioluminescent marker called LUCIFERASE so that you can be tracked. Read the last book of the New Testament to see how this ends.”
She was retweeting someone claiming that the Moderna COVID vaccine contains the substance.
The tweet has since been taken down for violating Twitter’s rules, but Daily Beast media reporter Justin Baragona caught a screenshot:
Robinson was briefly suspended from Twitter for the violation, Newsweek reported.
Newsmax did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. However, in a statement cited by The Hill, CEO Elliot Jacobson said the network is “a strong proponent that COVID-19 vaccines are overarchingly safe and effective.”
Newsmax has seen “no evidence” that any bioluminescent substances are present in COVID-19 vaccines, the statement continued.
“Such false claims have never been reported on Newsmax,” a spokesperson for Newsmax later told The Hill.
The chemical luciferin, and the enzyme luciferase, produce bioluminescence when they react, Reuters said in a May report fact checking online claims about the substance’s presence in Moderna’s vaccine.
Luciferase has been used in some research to improve COVID-19 testing and treatment, but is not in any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines’ ingredients lists, the agency reported.
The chemicals are a popular aspect of anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories which falsely allege that the COVID-19 vaccine is designed to track people.
The satanic-sounding names of the substances – which come from the Latin word “lucifer,” meaning “light-bearing” – may also explain why Christian conspiracy theorists hone in on them.
Conservative Christian Dr Sherri Tenpenny, who was named one of the dozen people most responsible for circulating anti-vaxxer material on Facebook by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, shared a lengthy video about luciferase with her Telegram followers in June.
It is not the first time Robinson has shared anti-vax talking points with a conservative Christian slant on Twitter. In October she also called vaccine mandates “the Mark of the Beast.”
The incident is the second controversy involving Newsmax this week. It was reported by Insider’s Natalie Musumeci and Jacob Shamsian earlier in the week that the company is being sued, alongside One America News Network, by voting technology company Smartmatic.
Smartmatic argues that both outlets defamed the company by pushing conspiracy theories about its work administering the 2020 presidential election.
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