A doctor who went viral in a video shared by Donald Trump in his latest attempts to promote hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus has on more than one occasion promoted controversial medical theories and anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes.
Dr Stella Immanuel, a physician from Houston, Texas, appeared in a video on Facebook which was removed on Monday, insisting that the malaria drug is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, a claim that has not been proven.
Facebook is trying to remove any re-uploads of the video because it is “sharing false information about cures and treatments for Covid-19”, a spokesperson said. One version of the video had more than 17 million views before the platform managed to remove it.
Dr Immanuel was among a number of physicians named “America’s Frontline Doctors” making misleading claims about the virus at a news conference Monday in Washington.
The paediatrician and religious minister has emerged as a figurehead in light of her speech at the conference, with both Mr Trump and his oldest son singing her praises on social media.
However, a report by The Daily Beast delved into more of Dr Immanuel’s unconventional public appearances, revealing the doctor’s spiritual beliefs regarding demon sex, alien DNA in medicine, conspiracy theories, and anti-LGBTQ+ views.
In one video from 2013, the doctor attributes medical conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, and cysts to “spirit husbands”, demons that have sex with women while they sleep.
“They are responsible for serious gynaecological problems,” Dr Immanuel said. “We call them all kinds of names—endometriosis, we call them molar pregnancies, we call them fibroids, we call them cysts, but most of them are evil deposits from the spirit husband.”
She also offers guidance against these spirits in an article titled ‘Deliverance from Spirit Wives and Spirit Husbands’ on her website, first reported by The Daily Beast.
According to the outlet, she also speaks of a conspiracy theory in which a witch attempts to use abortion, gay marriage, and children’s toys to destroy the world and claims that alien DNA is being used in medicine to treat humans.
“They’re using all kinds of DNA, even alien DNA, to treat people,” she reportedly says in one sermon from 2015.
Dr Immanuel has also frequently used her platform to spread homophobic and anti-transgender views, protesting against the legalisation of gay marriage and abortion on her YouTube page.
“How long are we going to allow the enemy to take over our beloved nation. How long are we going to allow the gay agenda, secular humanism, Illuminati and the demonic New World Order to destroy our homes, families and the social fiber of America,” the caption of one video reads.
She has also previously suggested that the government is run in part by non-human reptilians in a 2015 sermon, according to The Daily Beast.
“There are people that are ruling this nation that are not even human,” Dr Immanuel reportedly said in a 2015 sermon.
Dr Immanuel has not yet replied to The Independent’s request for comment.
The doctor has more recently been propelled to online fame for her discussions of the coronavirus, claiming to have treated 350 people “and counting” for the virus.
In the video footage, the doctor says that “you don’t need masks, there is a cure”.
Experts have in fact warned against the potentially severe side effects of taking the drug, which has been continually touted by Mr Trump, to treat the novel coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration has also recently revoked emergency authorisation of its use.
Nonetheless, Mr Trump Jr retweeted the footage of Dr Immanuel which had tens of millions of views, calling one version of the video a “must watch”. Twitter later suspended his account for posting “misleading and potentially harmful information” about coronavirus.
The president also retweeted a post including the now-deleted video with a caption referring to Dr Immanuel as a “fearless warrior for the truth”.
The doctor has since angled for a meeting with the president following his apparent support of her message tweeting: “Mr President I’m in town and available. I will love to meet with you.”
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been removing the hydroxychloroquine video when it has been posted, in line with policies intended to stop the spread of misinformation about coronavirus.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.