June 17, 2024

Twitter Deletes Fact-Check Of Musk Connecting Bronny James’ Cardiac Arrest To Covid Vaccine


X—the recently rebranded version of Twitter—removed a fact-check from a Tuesday post by company owner Elon Musk that linked the cardiac arrest suffered by college basketball player Bronny James to the Covid-19 vaccine—the latest assertion from the billionaire who’s increasingly promoting conspiracy theories and fringe ideas.

Key Facts

Musk replied to the news of James’ cardiac arrest, saying, “We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing,” adding that “Myocarditis is a known side-effect” of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Musk’s post was met with a since-removed fact-check that noted the risk of myocarditis, a rare condition involving the inflammation of a layer of the heart’s wall, is significantly higher after a Covid infection than after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, citing articles from CBS News and the Yale School of Medicine.

The fact-check also noted that in adolescent boys, the risk of myocarditis following a Covid infection was approximately twice that of the risk that follows a second vaccine dose.

It’s not clear why the fact-check, which appeared through the platform’s “Community Notes” feature, was removed.

Musk has not made any further comments on the matter following his tweet, which no longer has the fact check attached to it.

It is not unclear if James suffers from myocarditis, and details about what caused his cardiac arrest are still unavailable.

Key Background

Bronny James—the son of billionaire NBA legend LeBron James— was hospitalized Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest during a practice at the University of Southern California, where he is set to play college basketball starting in the fall. James received on-site care from USC’s medical and athletic staff, according to the James family. The four-star recruit was out of the ICU as of Tuesday morning. Musk’s tweet in response to James’ medical incident set the billionaire’s social platform aflame with discourse over the effects of Covid-19 vaccines, which have prompted conspiracy theories for years despite studies consistently affirming their safety. Heart inflammation has been reported in those who receive Covid vaccines, with myocarditis also being identified as a “miniscule” side effect of the vaccines. However, the possibility of developing myocarditis following a vaccine is rare, according to the Yale School of Medicine. The highest risk group for such a complication, according to Yale, is males between 12 and 17 years of age. James is 18 years old.


Musk’s embrace of vaccine skepticism and conspiracy theories is not a new development. The billionaire has doubted a mass shooter’s widely reported far-right connections and called the related shooting a “psyop.” In May, Musk attacked George Soros, claiming the billionaire hated humanity and wanted to “erode the very fabric of civilization.” The comments came after Musk compared Soros, who is Jewish and survived the Holocaust, to comic book villain Magneto, who has been depicted as a Holocaust survivor. Last month, Musk and podcaster Joe Rogan pressed a vaccine expert, Dr. Peter Hotez, to debate Rogan, with Musk tweeting, “He’s afraid of a public debate, because he knows he’s wrong.” Musk has also given a substantial platform to Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a well-known anti-vaccine figure who once claimed Covid somehow spared Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people.

Further Reading

LeBron James’ Son Bronny Reportedly Suffered Cardiac Arrest, In Stable Condition (Forbes)

It’s Rare, But It Happens: What Bronny James’ Health Teaches Us About Cardiac Arrest In Young Athletes (Forbes)

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