NYC Vaccine Mandates Just Like Jim Crow in the Deep South, Says Naomi Wolf

Photograph Source: Ivan Radic – CC BY 2.0

Conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf claimed last month that New York City’s vaccine restrictions make the metropolis akin to the Deep South in the Jim Crow days.

Wolf made the remarks to the crowd at a benefit in Columbia County on November 21.

According to Wolf, she and a group of her fellow anti-vaxxers were refused entry to restaurants and bars in the city on November 20. New York’s vaccine restrictions, which have been in place since the middle of August, somehow reminded Wolf of racial segregation in the first half of the 20th century.

“I’m unvaccinated, I think a lot of us were vaccinated—we couldn’t find a bathroom because we couldn’t go indoors,” Wolf said. “It was, literally, like before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in New York.”

“What is your credit card? It is your body”

The fundraiser was held for Arklight House, a refuge of sorts for members of the anti-vax movement in Columbia County. Wolf joined contrarian professor Mark Crispin Miller, former doctor Tom Cowan, conspiracist Kevin Jenkins, and various local anti-vax personalities at the event.

In her remarks, Wolf warned of a “two-tiered” society being developed based on COVID vaccines.

“If you can create a two-tiered society in which all of the good things that belong to human beings are behind a paywall, that’s how tech development works,” Wolf said. “You put a paywall in front of dinner parties, you put a paywall in front of bars and restaurants. You put a paywall in front of going to church or keeping your job or getting on a train.”

“What is your credit card? It is your body,” Wolf added. “What are the subscription payments? They are the repeat boosters forever.”

This isn’t the first time Wolf and her fellow Columbia County anti-vaxxers have used language likening their opposition to common-sense public health measures to the Civil Rights Movement. In June, Wolf was the featured speaker at a “Juneteenth” event sponsored by local anti-vax group Do We Need This?—later canceled as a result of my reporting—which attempted to tie the celebration of liberation from centuries of American chattel slavery to the current mild inconvenience of wearing masks and getting a vaccine.

This weekend, Do We Need This? plans on hosting a “Health Freedom Gathering” in Poughkeepsie.

The Lenny Dykstra of the anti-vax movement

Wolf and her people responded to my reporting on her booking for the Juneteenth event months later in September with a threatening email demanding I correct the record for the good of her “reputation.”

As I noted at the time:

The problem with any possible legal action against … anyone who’s written about Wolf—whether the charges are for defamation or libel—is that she has no reputation to speak of. In that regard, Wolf is like Lenny Dykstra, the former Mets player whose defamation case against fellow former Met Ron Darling was thrown out because his character was so low it couldn’t be defamed.

More broadly, anti-vaxxers in Columbia County and in the nearby Berkshire Hills region of western Massachusetts are growing increasingly unhinged.

A September 13 meeting of the group Stand Up Massachusetts devolved into paranoid accusations and fears of communism; anti-vax sentiment in the area has led people like myself to regretfully have to cut ties with proponents of the conspiracy theories.

Wolf’s comments during the ArkLight fundraiser are par for the course.

Watch Wolf’s full remarks:

Eoin Higgins is a journalist based in New England. He writes The Flashpoint newsletter. Reporting for this article was funded by a grant from the ExposeFacts program of the Institute for Public Accuracy.