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RuPaul's Drag Race alum Gia Gunn, who competed on season 6 of the show before appearing on season 4 of All Stars, called COVID-19 "a hoax" in a video on Instagram Live today. But later in the day, she released a second video saying we all need to do better and put our masks back on, and thanked those who "educated" her about the health crisis.
"I think the whole mask thing is ridiculous," the performer said in the first clip, which was posted to Twitter by another user. "I honestly think this whole COVID-19 thing is a hoax. I think everybody that is taking precautions is cute, and it's definitely the thing to do, but I also think that a lot of people are brainwashed."
Gunn's advice, of course, was in direct opposition to the facts. Since the pandemic began, 495,000 have died of the virus worldwide, including 127,000 in the U.S. This is only a fraction of over 9.5 million confirmed cases, but it's still quite an impactful number. In places like China, Italy, and New York, reports have shown that when people practice social distancing and used personal protective equipment (like a mask), the rate of transmission decreases, leading to fewer cases and fewer deaths.
"I think the more and more and more that we look around and see each other with masks on, the more influenced that we are going to be to also put our masks on," Gunn continued in the first clip. "Which then, to me, insinuates to me that things are not OK."
Well, clearly things are not OK, but Gunn was in denial.
"I'm here to tell you guys that I think things are more OK than what the government is allowing us to think," said Gunn, who was a controversial figure on Drag Race, where she became known as "the boom-boom Gunn."
We should be clear here that it's less the federal government that has advocated for restrictions than the health care sector, along with some state and local governments. Donald Trump refuses to be seen in a mask and has pushed hard for reopening the economy, regardless of the human cost.
Gunn has previously utilized her outspokenness in more constructive ways, such as confronting RuPaul over his past opposition to having transgender contestants on Drag Race (Gunn is trans). She has said she was ready to quit All Stars 4 after "a heated exchange with Ru." And at a performance in San Jose, Calif., she told the crowd, "Fuck Miss RuPaul and her ignorant-ass comments."
Several Twitter users, including fellow queen Aquaria, took her to task for the COVID-19 comments, and then Gunn released her second video. "It's time for Miss Gia to take her own advice and do better," she said. She noted the surge in cases in California and said, "It's time for us to put our masks back on." She concluded, "I thank you all so much for correcting me, educating me, and informing me."
Below, see her first video, followed by reactions, and then the second one.
\u201c.@GiaGunn the pandemic is real and very serious. If you won\u2019t listen to me, listen to this gay nurse who lost 50 lbs and has to take rest breaks now because his lungs were beat by this virus. \u201d— Matt says \u201cGet vaccinated \ud83d\udc89\u201d (@Matt says \u201cGet vaccinated \ud83d\udc89\u201d) 1593201894
\u201cI\u2019m sorry but @GiaGunn needs to wear her fucking mask and shut the fuck up. Saying the virus is a hoax is insanely disrespectful to those that have lost loved ones. In the words of @TheBiancaDelRio \u2b07\ufe0f\u201d— MichaelB (@MichaelB) 1593204659
\u201cThis is beyond irresponsible @GiaGunn do you realize you\u2019re aligning with the \u201cpresident\u201d and his non handling of the pandemic?\u201d— Alexis Michelle (@Alexis Michelle) 1593203053
\u201cThere are no excuses, it\u2019s time for us to do better and myself included. @evanrosskatz\u201d— Gia Gunn (@Gia Gunn) 1593207063
Additional reporting by Mikelle Street