Foxx Reps Say Vax Claim Isn't True, Yet It Just Won't Die

Rumor that actor's mystery condition was caused by COVID vaccine continues to spread online
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2023 8:08 AM CDT
Jamie Foxx Reps: No, He Didn't Go Blind From COVID Shot
Jamie Foxx arrives at the premiere of "Day Shift" on Aug. 10 at Regal LA Live in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

What's going on with Jamie Foxx's health is still largely a mystery—even an upbeat update from his daughter didn't provide many details—but one thing fans can now rule out is that he suffered medical complications from the COVID vaccine. That's according to reps for the 55-year-old actor, who say in an email to NBC News that a report on Foxx suggesting he was left "partially paralyzed and blind" after being vaccinated is "completely inaccurate." The news outlet notes, however, that even that statement doesn't seem to be helping the rumor die. Even the fact-checking site Snopes still hasn't deemed it "false," opting instead for "unproven."

NBC traces the origins of the unsubstantiated claim to AJ Benza, a gossip columnist who appeared on Dr. Drew Pinsky's podcast last week and asserted that Foxx was made to get the COVID shot in order to be allowed to work on a movie set. Benza said that an unnamed source "in the room" with Foxx said that after Foxx got vaccinated, he developed a blood clot, which led to a stroke—a claim Pinksy didn't push back on. NBC notes the rumor is part of a larger "continued push among some far-right personalities to cast doubt on the safety of vaccines," and that Benza's claim soon went viral on social media, picked up and disseminated by right-wing pundits like Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk.

Facebook and TikTok appear to have made efforts to limit the spread of the Foxx-vax rumor, with searches for "Jamie Foxx COVID vaccine" coming up empty or referring users to CDC or World Health Organization info. The claim has been "absorbed and amplified," however, in the "anti-vaccination echo chamber on YouTube and Twitter," where videos and tweets highlighting the rumor abound. Meanwhile, studies have shown that the risk of developing blood clots from COVID vaccines is extremely rare—far less than getting clots from COVID itself.

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Pinksy, for his part, says in an email to NBC that he's seen "no evidence" that leads him to believe Foxx's medical issues were caused by getting the COVID vaccine, and that "the statements from [Benza] were based on his own confidential sources, so I can't speculate further than what he said on the show." He also noted he hoped Benza's sources were wrong and that Foxx will "make a full recovery." (More Jamie Foxx stories.)

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