Conspiracy Video Goes Viral in Threat to France’s Vaccine Push

A documentary questioning the purpose of coronavirus vaccines has gone viral in France after endorsements from politicians and celebrities, some of whom later withdrew their support.

“Hold Up” got more than 4 million views on Google’s YouTube and other platforms over a couple of days last week, helped along on social media by public figures including lawmakers, former First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and actor Sophie Marceau.

Suspicions over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines are widespread in France. In a study released this week by the liberal think tank Fondation Jean-Jaures, 43% of respondents said they would refuse to get a shot -- 7 percentage points more than in the U.S., and twice as many as in the U.K.

France Exceeds 2 Million Virus Cases Since Start of Pandemic

The video, which is more than two hours long, suggests the global response to Covid-19 is a plot hatched by big drug companies and governments to create a surveillance state and a submissive population.

Marceau posted an ad for the documentary on her Instagram feed, which was “liked” by 23,800 people. One of those was Bruni-Sarkozy, who then canceled it, saying she had thought the actor was posting about one of her movies. Bruni-Sarkozy’s press assistant said she doesn’t support conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy Video Goes Viral in Threat to France’s Vaccine Push

Lawmaker and former digital affairs minister Mounir Mahjoubi called the video “the first French-language conspiracy-theory super-production.” It contains echoes of the English-language documentary “Plandemic” that also went viral earlier this year.

The French video includes on-camera interviews with scientists, researchers and former health minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who said later he’d not been aware of its conspiracy angle and withdrew his support.

Part or all of the documentary was still available on YouTube and Facebook on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Facebook and Instagram said the company attached a warning label to the video. A representative for Google couldn’t be reached for comment.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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