It all starts when the rapper BoobaThursday January 18, “takes the risk”… of relaying a publication making the link between vaccination against Covid-19 and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. A link repeatedly denied, for at least two reasons: the very slow incubation of this disease (more than 10 years), and a number of patients who have been stable since the start of vaccination, in France as elsewhere. No matter: “Open your eyes,” Booba says to his 6.3 million subscribers on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
The rapper quickly attracted the wrath of several scientists and health professionals. Among them, an oncologist very active on X, in particular to fight against medical misinformation: the Dr Jérôme Barrière. The latter responds firmly but politely to Booba that the artist shares “content which is not based on any serious scientific data”. Referring to his “millions of subscribers”, he then invites him to “maintain a certain reserve” on a subject that he does not “master”.
Therefore, the Dr Barrière is the victim of “online harassment”, as he told the Parisian. OIn addition to unkind remarks about the doctor’s grandmother, “he insulted me, called me a murderer, a lobotomized imbecile…”, he confides.
Messages from Booba quoting Jérôme Barrière are multiplying. “Anonymous haters then arrived en masse,” testifies the doctor, who evokes messages of hatred and threats. He locks his in fact his true identity, and works in a firm in the south of France.
Especially since the story is not over: quoted in Booba’s first message, Didier Raoult intervenes in turn. “Thanks for the support, little brother. Signed Didier,” he published in turn, in response to the rapper’s publication…
Didier Raoult has, however, long defended vaccination in general, and against Covid-19 in particular – at least for caregivers and those most at risk. Since then, he has regularly displayed conspiratorial positionsisolating himself a little more each time of his ex-colleagues.
What will Jérôme Barrière do?
Jérôme Barrière does not intend to file a complaint, so as not to be “the one who feeds the beast”. While he says he is satisfied with the support of his colleagues, he accuses the State of remaining silent in the face of medical misinformation. He recalls that in March the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire welcomed Booba’s fight against influencer scams… and hopes the same thing for health.
Booba, for his part, has since attacked other targets – the Dr Jérôme Marty, president of the liberal doctors’ union UFML, or even France Télévisions journalist Julien Pain, always to convey conspiracy and anti-vaccine theories… or insult his interlocutors.
Faced with the storm suffered, the Dr Barrière thought about leaving X, but changed his mind: “To remain silent would mean that obscurantism has won. It is essential to maintain a presence on social networks, myself or others, so that people of good faith can keep their bearings and do not only have access to disinformation,” he concludes.