In Video, Texas GOP Donor Steven Hotze Claims COVID Vaccine Leads to ‘Mind Control’

Since the pandemic hit, COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories have been rampant.
Since the pandemic hit, COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories have been rampant. Daniels Schludi via Unsplash
A year and a half since COVID-19 first hit and shuttered much of the world, some hardline Texas conservatives are still spreading wild conspiracy theories about the vaccine.

In a Twitter post on Thursday, the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog media outlet Right Wing Watch published a video of Texas-based doctor, right-wing activist and GOP donor Steven Hotze claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine could make you vulnerable to – wait for it – mind control.

If you received the vaccine, Hotze claims in the clip, you “become connected to the internet of things and you can be mind-controlled by artificial intelligence through maybe 5G.”

Although the video isn’t time stamped, it appears to have been filmed late last month at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, where the right-wing Liberty Pastors group held a conference featuring Hotze as a speaker.

“Well, they’re putting 5G everywhere. It’s like the Tower of Babel,” Hotze continued in the video. “And how did God deal with the Tower of Babel? How much longer do you think he’s gonna tolerate the Satanic plan? This is transhumanism.”
He added, “The real question is: Who will control the computers that give you the messages? It won’t be your pastor.” (It stands to reason that Hotze might think it’d be quite all right if it was “your pastor” controlling your thoughts.)

Around the country, more than 71% of people aged 5 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thus far, there have been precisely zero confirmed cases of mind control.

It’s not the first time Hotze has waded into the murky waters of conspiracy theories.

Earlier this year, the Texas Tribune reported that Hotze had been indicted on two felony charges related to an incident in which he allegedly had an air conditioning repairman held at gunpoint as part of brain-numbing plot to uncover supposedly fraudulent ballots.

"This is transhumanism." – Steven Hotze, totally normal doctor

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Speaking to reporters after Hotze was indicted, his attorney, Jared Woodfill, accused the Harris County District Attorney’s office of having “politicized this as part of an effort to silence this good man.”

Last year, Hotze and Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller filed a lawsuit against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for requiring a negative COVID-19 test to enter the grounds under the jurisdiction of the State Senate.

Filed in Travis County, that lawsuit said Hotze had been denied entry to the Senate grounds for not having a wristband that signified he’d provided a negative COVID-19 test on March 2, 2021.

According to the OpenSecrets nonprofit, Hotze has spent years shelling out big bucks to Republicans around the country, including many here in Texas. In the past, he’s donated to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Harris County Republican Party and state Rep. Valoree Swanson, among others.

In the past, some Texas Republicans have criticized Hotze for his hardline views. Last year, he left a voicemail with Gov. Greg Abbott's chief of staff urging the governor to have law enforcement "shoot-to-kill" Black Lives Matters protesters "if any of these sons-of-bitches start rioting" in the wake of George Floyd's killing by police, the Texas Tribune reported.

Cornyn later condemned those comments, calling them "absolutely disgusting and reprehensible."
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Patrick Strickland is the news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's a former senior reporter at Al Jazeera English and has reported for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.