Be warned if you want to share a viral video about the coronavirus featuring a group calling themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors.” Madonna posted the clip on Instagram Tuesday (July 28), and the social media platform quickly took action, blurring out the video and adding the message: “False Information. Reviewed by independent fact-checkers.”
“We’ve removed this video for making false claims about cures and prevention methods for COVID-19,” Raki Wane, a spokesperson for Instagram, told Billboard in a statement. “People who reacted to, commented on, or shared this video will see messages directing them to authoritative information about the virus.”
Wane also noted that Instagram — which is owned by Facebook — is “removing all instances of this video, and not just Madonna’s.”
In her since-deleted post, the singer had captioned the video: “The Truth will set us all Free! (Notice how this info is being censored. But some people don’t want to hear the truth.” She also wrote that there was already a vaccine for COVID-19 and shouted out Stella Immanuel, one of the doctors featured in video, saying she was “my hero.”
According to the BBC, before the post was removed, Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics commented on the post, writing: “This is utter madness!!!I can’t believe that you are endorsing this dangerous quackery. Hopefully your site has been hacked and you’re just about to explain it…”
Billboard has reached out to Madonna and Lennox for comment.
Immanuel, a doctor and minister from Houston, has made wild claims, including that women can be impregnated by witches and demons in their dreams. In the viral video being shared online — which social media platforms have been working to remove — she claims that she has successfully treated hundreds of coronavirus patients with hydroxychloroquine, zinc and Zithromax. As CNN reported, her claims are not true, and that the New England Journal of Medicine has published a recent study saying hydroxychloroquine is not a treatment for the virus, and may cause additional health issues.
Versions of the viral video have also been shared by President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. According to NBC News, Twitter — citing their “COVID-19 misinformation policy” — removed both tweets and also prevented Trump Jr. from tweeting for 12 hours on Tuesday.
Prior to sharing the video containing misinformation about the coronavirus, Madonna made controversial remarks about the pandemic. In a now-deleted video posted to Twitter on March 22, she called COVID-19 the “great equalizer,” and added, “What’s terrible about it is what’s great about it. What’s terrible about it is it’s made us all equal in many ways — and what’s wonderful about it is it’s made us all equal in many ways.”