Antivaccine nonsense Bad science Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Mikki Willis has expanded from Plandemic to ivermectin conspiracy theories

Mikki Willis of “Plandemic” fame is back, and this time he’s flogging conspiracy theories about ivermectin as a “suppressed” cure for COVID-19.

I haven’t written about antihelminthic (anti-roundworm) drug ivermectin in a while for the simple reason that, although it’s still being sold as a save, “Nobel Prize-winning” miracle cure for COVID-19 (even though its discoverers didn’t win the Nobel Prize because ivermectin treated viral illnesses) that The Man doesn’t want you to know about, it just hasn’t been as big a deal this summer as it was last summer. Indeed, the last times I wrote about ivermectin, I pointed out how it reminded me of acupuncture now in that its advocates reject high quality randomized trials showing it doesn’t work in favor of lower quality observational studies full of biases, using that example to suggest that science-based medicine isn’t just good for analyzing scientifically implausible (or impossible) alternative medicine like homeopathy; it’s also good for all medicine, including implausible COVID-19 treatments like ivermectin. That was back in April. Here it is September, and now ivermectin is back, thanks to Mikki Willis, in the form of a 14-minute video entitled Ivermectin: The Truth:

A quick rule of thumb: Any time a book or movie purports to be The Truth about something, there’s a very high chance that a big conspiracy theory will be at the heart of it.

Let’s go into a bit of background before I look at the movie itself. I will, however, mention that I rarely watch videos of this sort. The only reason I watched this one is because it is only less than 14 minutes long. Basically, I find that watching most YouTube videos by cranks for blog material tends to be way more effort than it’s worth, but I sometimes make exceptions for exceedingly wild or viral videos or, like this one, videos that are short.

In any event, you remember Mikki Willis, don’t you? He produced one of the first viral crank videos of the pandemic, way back in May 2020, called Plandemic. (How clever.) Willis followed up a few months later with a a “sequel” called Plandemic:Indoctornation. (Groan.) As you might recall, in both films Willis portrayed the COVID-19 pandemic as being “fake.” In the first Plandemic he cast an old school antivaxxer named Judy Mikovitz as the brave maverick scientist persecuted by the fascist thugs led by—of course!—Anthony Fauci for her prior work on a retrovirus (XMRV) that she had blamed for chronic fatigue syndrome and autism. In the second film, he portrayed a conspiracy theory in which SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, had been engineered and released into the wild as part of a plot to control the world through more restrictive and authoritarian policies and laws instituted in response to the pandemic, although in this film Bill Gates replaced Anthony Fauci as the primary villain.

So now Mikki Willis has decided to turn his filmmaking skills to ivermectin, the antihelminthic drug that’s widely used to treat roundworm-based diseases in humans and in veterinary practice and has been touted as a repurposed drug that is highly effective against COVID-19. Unfortunately, the production values of this video are pretty good, certainly better than that of the two previous Plandemic films. The narrative is very predictable, and dramatic. The film begins with a shot of Mikki Willis, looking so very, very serious, filmed against a dark background speaking so seriously directly to the camera, with the caption, “Mikki Willis, Father, Filmmaker” below him. He wants to assure that the worst misinformation is not what you think it is:

Of all the harmful misinformation spread over the last couple of years, one of the most disturbing false narratives was targeted at the Nobel Prize-winning human medicine ivermectin. What you’re about to see will reveal the motive behind the smear campaign against one of the safest and most effective medicines of this era, a medicine that, according to the numerous top scientists I’ve interviewed, could have ended the pandemic before it began.

Note how Willis emphasizes the word “human” in his narration. That’s clearly an attempt to counter the narrative that ivermectin is “horse paste,” a narrative that very much stung ivermectin promoters. It is, of course, true that ivermectin is a human drug. It’s used to treat all sorts of diseases in humans caused by parasitic roundworm species. Examples include ascariasis (roundworm infestation of the small intestine), onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness because the larvae of the filarial worm that causes the disease when introduced into the body by bites of blackflies can infest the eyes and cause blindness), and a number of other diseases. Of course, these sorts of worms also affect animals, for which ivermectin is often used to treat them. In any event, a good portion of the early part of the film involves emphasizing that the developers of ivermectin won the Nobel Prize for their discovery, which is true but misleading because they won the Nobel Prize for discovering how safe and effective ivermectin is for treating roundworm infestations in animals and humans, not discovering that it treats viral disease.

Early in the video, Willis shows a number of clips of news and late night talk show hosts calling ivermectin “horse paste,” followed by a now infamous clip of CNN medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Joe Rogan’s podcast sheepishly “admitting” that ivermectin is a human medicine and, worse, just sitting there and taking it as Rogan castigated CNN for telling a “lie” when Anderson Cooper referred to ivermectin as “horse dewormer” (which, of course, it is, among other things). I would argue that it was not unfair to refer to horse paste/dewormer, because around this time last year there were a lot of stories describing how the false claims that ivermectin was a highly effective COVID-19 treatment had led to runs on farm supply stores and leading to severe shortages of horse ivermectin. In brief, people were using the horse version of ivermectin in the false hope of preventing or treating COVID-19. That is a fact, and Dr. Gupta was basically

Willis is also apparently very unhappy about ivermectin being portrayed as “dangerous.” Indeed, Willis goes out of his way to cite an FDA Tweet begging people not to take ivermectin by saying, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow.” Early on, there’s a shot of Dr. Paul Marik comparing ivermectin to Tylenol and stating that you are more likely to die from taking Tylenol than ivermectin, which is sort of true but again misleading. For one thing, Tylenol works when used at appropriate doses. For another thing, for Tylenol to kill your liver, you have to take a significant overdose.

While it is true that when used at its appropriate human dose, ivermectin is a very safe drug (which is part of the reason its discoverers won the Nobel Prize), again, people were using the horse formulation and taking large doses, the narrative by Dr. Robert “discoverer of mRNA vaccines” Malone that the per-weight dose of ivermectin is the same for horses as it is for humans not withstanding. Maybe so, but were people scaling the horse dose down to humans, given that horses weigh several times what a typical human does? No, some were using several times the human dose and suffering toxicities serious enough to hospitalize them. It is also admittedly true that the extent of the number of people who suffered toxicity due to ivermectin was exaggerated in the media at times, it is also true that, like all drugs, ivermectin can be toxic, which, given its ineffectiveness treating COVID-19, provides more than enough reason to discourage people from using it for anything other than actual diseases that it is known to be able to treat effectively; i.e., diseases caused by roundworm infestations.

Next come the “persecution” stories, in which the FDA advisory against using ivermectin issued about a year ago supposedly resulted in the “cancellation” of so many brave maverick doctors, such as Pierre Kory, Richard Bartlett, Peter McCullough, and others discussing how their advocacy of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 had brought a world of hurt down upon them. Naturally Dr. Kory bragged about his awesomeness as a critical care physician, and Dr. Bartlett bragged about his being a trauma doctor who taught Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS). (Seriously, though, a number of surgery residents in our residency program are ATLS instructors. It’s important, but it’s not all that impressive to be an ATLS instructor. You just have to learn the algorithms well enough to be certified to teach them to others.)

Of course, these brave mavericks weren’t being “silenced” because they were wrong and advocating a unproven drug that even then didn’t look as though it would be very effective, but because they were bucking the establishment. Naturally, they brag about how many publications they had. Never mind that those publications were in areas mostly unrelated to infectious disease and antiviral therapies. Yet these brave mavericks were “cancelled,” and the film features clips of them lamenting how they had had complaints lodged against them. Particularly impressive as emotional manipulation was a clip where Dr. Marik teared up as he described how he “could not be a doctor anymore” and had to “stand by idly” and watch COVID-19 patients die. No, he was just being told that he shouldn’t use an ineffective medicine.

At this point, we had the conspiracy narrative. According to Willis, ivermectin is both safe and effective—so much so that it could have ended the pandemic before it started!—but The Man was suppressing the evidence and lying about it. Worse, The Man was even persecuting Galileo doctors who had been pioneering the use of the medication to treat COVID-19 patients! But why?

I think you know why.

Unsurprisingly, the reasons that Willis proposes for the “suppression” of ivermectin-pushing doctors are big pharma and its desire to profit off of vaccines. There is a pivot to a claim that, if ivermectin were effective, then the vaccines never would have been able to receive emergency use approvals (EUAs) from the FDA because the regulation governing EUAs require that there be no other safe and effective FDA-approved treatment for a disease or condition. Malone even claims that, if there’s a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19, then the “logic” behind issuing an EUA for an “experimental” vaccine becomes “no longer supportable.” Willis thus argues that the reason ivermectin was “suppressed” was to pave the way for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (and later others) and, of course, the massive profits those vaccines could bring in. Interestingly, one of the documents cited comes from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), the right wing “think tank” responsible for the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), the infamous document advocating a “let ‘er rip” strategy for the virus, with vaguely defined “focused protection” for those at high risk of severe disease and death. This document, I note, was published two months before the vaccines started rolling out.

In any event, Willis features lots of interview snippets claiming that ivermectin would have “threatened” the vaccination effort, with global vaccination programs being portrayed as the mindless dogma of the public health establishment. Then, of course, ivermectin is cheap, a fact that’s used to bolster the false claim that ivermectin was being “suppressed” in order to protect the COVID-19 vaccination program. Willis also includes lots of clips about big pharma profits and influence. He even uses a clip of John Oliver talking about how much influence big pharma has on the media and medical literature.

There’s a whole section on the supposed “evidence” base for ivermectin that I won’t spend a lot of time on given how much I’ve discussed how weak this evidence base is, how fraudulent some of it is, and how newer studies demonstrate rather conclusively that ivermectin doesn’t work against COVID-19. It’s all the usual suspects, and Willis features Marik and others claiming that the ivermectin trials were “designed to fail”—by pharmaceutical companies, naturally!—and that ivermectin really is a miracle cure. Of course, if clinical trials can be “designed to fail,” they can also be “designed to succeed,” which was part of the problem with most of the examples cited by Willis. They were crappy trials, almost guaranteed to produce seemingly “positive” results. The real issue is that, the more rigorous the ivermectin trial, the more likely it was to be negative, rather like acupuncture trials. None of that stops Willis from claiming that the media ginned up coverage of every negative ivermectin study, while ignoring how right wing media ginned up every poorly designed or even fraudulent positive study of ivermectin.

Also, according to Willis, the NIH is in on it too, because of course it is. Also, to Willis, ivermectin is the “single greatest public health achievement” in our history.

Having watched enough of these films, I’ve become aware of their structure, and Willis’ film is one of the tightest, most concise versions of the conspiracy theory documentary. It has all the elements of quack documentaries going back to time immemorial and books lauding quacks:

  1. A miracle drug/treatment for a deadly disease.
  2. The brave maverick doctor or doctors who have discovered this miracle drug/treatment, who are portrayed as geniuses.
  3. The “persecution” of the brave maverick doctors for just wanting to help patients.
  4. Enemies, specifically big pharma and the government, whose profits and interests are threatened by the miracle drug/treatment and the brave maverick doctors promoting it.
  5. A deceptive description of the evidence base for the miracle drug/treatment that portrays it as, well, miraculous.
  6. The media as part of the conspiracy to shut down the miracle drug/treatment and the brave maverick doctors promoting it.
  7. A note of hope at the end that the public will “wake up” to the conspiracy and take back the power to use the miracle drug/treatment.

Once you become familiar with this sort of narrative and the elements, all or some of which are generally employed in such propaganda exercises, you’ll see them everywhere in science denying films and books. Indeed, Willis’ film reminds me very much of other quack and antivax conspiracy films, such as the movies about Stanislaw Burzynski from a decade ago or Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield‘s antivax epic VAXXED from six years ago. The narratives are very similar, but Willis distills the narrative down to an easy-to-digest 14 minutes, which makes his film peddling disinformation about ivermectin all the more insidious.

And, of course, at the end it’s revealed that there will soon be a Plandemic 3, with this movie apparently being a taste of what’s to come, because of course there will be. Marvelous.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

31 replies on “Mikki Willis has expanded from Plandemic to ivermectin conspiracy theories”

When you can’t support your conspiracy theory with evidence, make up new ones to support your old ones. It’s conspiracies all the way down!

“It’s conspiracies all the way down!”

Paranoid narcissism fits perfectly also.

The question is, said Alice: Can it be all of these things, all at once, all the way down? Let’s all watch Mikki Willis now as he proves, why, yes. Yes, it can!

As I say, this is actually not as surprising as it sounds: these people are a self-selecting cohort. Concentrating toxicity so strong it burns through the deck plates of society before we know it, never mind formulate an effective response.

I mean, just look at that headshot. I feel smaller already. There is a man who is in love with himself and everything that emits from his piehole.

Our host’s humanely delicate biopsy is really a technical formality: yup, that right there’s a rampaging fungating monster, Stage IV. Absolutely the appropriate medical scientific procedure to follow, of course.

That said, with all those boxes now properly ticked, how can we to proceed to kill it with fire ASAFP…?

That is the question needing answered. ’Cos their vision for the future spans the globe at the speed of electrons down tubes. A lie eats the whole world while truth is still fixated on figuring out who placed the dogshit in its one remaining boot.

“I mean, just look at that headshot. I feel smaller already.”

At first I thought Cesar Milan had branched out.

Go over to and read the stories of people who believed all this rubbish about the wonder drug Ivor’s mucktin, those who (were not vaccinated) caught covid, became ill, ordered Ivor’s mucktin from the ‘front line doctors’ at $500 a pop and ended up in hospital and died. They would all be still here if it was not for these charlatans .

+1 I do. It’s tough reading. r/HermanCainAward is another.

There’s plenty of stories where you think, “Yup, them folk just need[ed] a killin’. Good.”

Then there’s the ones where glimpses of humanity still peek out, revealing people who, at some point, were not all that different from us.

Commenters also frequently revel in condensing their own toxicity; understandable but not reassuring to watch. There are unhealthly feedback loops everywhere.

Everytime we hear stuff like that on the Antivax side we keep running into the Jim Jones Jonestown comparisons because of them. When is it right for us to use Godwin’s law by using the Jonestown mass murder comparisons?

Yes legit medical abuse did happen at some point or to today like the opioid abuse crisis and the Tuskegee Abuse scandal. I can see why these medical abuse victims would easily support the Anti-vax conspiracies. I just don’t know where else to go from there.

Medical abuses happen, because medicine is a human system and all human systems contain abusers who perpetrate abuses to serve themselves. What is telling about alties, CTs, etc is that is always other people’s systems that are thick with abuse; whereas theirs is clean and pure and natural as a summer flower.

Sure, Jan. Look closer: your flower was a life once too.

Look, we know why they don’t look: they see themselves. Projection is a Standard Operational Procedure for those who are abusers themselves, and for their many enablers too.

Abuse happens everywhere; that is a human condition. Yes, it sucks. Because we, as humans, suck. The first step toward any genuine harm reduction is admitting our own role in those harms. Anyone who declares his shit doesn’t stink fools only himself.

But it takes particular type of people to lean greedily into it, and then on being called on it to turn around and declare that the real abuser is you.

@Bob: Where to go next?

Your own mistake, as a decent functioning human, is assuming everyone else is human like you. Some of those people are not. Abusers gonna abuse; they are only predators acting according to instinct after all. It’s all their enablers who are ultimately responsible: they are humans who are possessed of intelligence and empathy; and they have made their own choices to sell out fellow humans to the predators in return for feel-good contentment and personal comfort.

Again, this happens everywhere. Except in their own happy camp, so they’ll tell you.

The key is not to note that they are projecting; that is apparent. Your key lies in answering why.

The trouble to actually doing this: it’s as pleasant as licking the underside of your own toilet seat. Good Luck.

The sheriff of the county where Tuskegee is located caught Covid a while back, got very sick, recovered and urges everyone to get vaccinated. He’s African American. Yes, the Tuskegee crime needs to be part of any educated citizen’s understanding of the legacies of slavery, racism, etc. but to use that to argue against protecting oneself from a dangerous disease is dumb.

Viruses don’t care about opinions.

“Commenters also frequently revel in condensing their own toxicity” You should know. Lol. 😂 Good luck with the gain of function super cold. You need a booster. Evidently the new one is an “upgrade”. Do us all a favor and get that booster asap!

Thanks. Your timely reminder that these people are inherently incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time; thus anyone who does do both together signals clearly they are part of The Conspiraceeeee too.

I’m not saying it’s the n-word, but you know it’s the n-word. They can’t do it; therefore nobody can—it’s self-evidently impossible!

Their disability lies is not their blindness of their own errors but in their inability even to conceive that they could ever possibly make one. They already know they are infallible: their own brain has told them this!

In screaming psychosis, this would be called a “fixed belief”: an involuntary delusion. In PDs, it is just as involuntary but infinitely less tractable. There is no medicine, no therapy, no reason to change such a mind; it is just the reality of how that mind is wired.

Sadly a characteristic which Darwin does not select against very strongly†; and, as we can see here, frequently selects for! Schadenfreude while it’s only their funeral; not at all fun when it’s everyone else’s as well.

† [obligatory snark about removing all warning labels from products and letting nature take its course goes here]

This site, as always, is a breath of fresh air.
Here in Australia we have now gone down the Covid is fake, the cure is worse than the bite, the sovereign citizen folks who have gone from protesting to smallish riots, to having only one or two people at their rallies.
We may be having people coming to their senses at last, but they have definately gone down the route of the U.S.
We have one gentleman that has become somewhat of a hero to the masses, he calls himself the Great Aussie Cossack, he has a shed load of unpaid debts, his wife has taken two AVO’s out on him, and he’s taken his grandma’s house off of her by some fraudulent means, among other things.
He has become some sort of star to the minions, although right now he’s sitting in a jail cell for a few weeks but his followers are camped outside 24/7 chanting his name, I call him the great aussie cocksack, childish I know, but satisfactory from my point of view.
I mean “come on”, he doesn’t work but lives a luxury lifestyle because of donations and crowd funding gigs that are brought forward from his dedicated followers. The man is a pimp, for want of another word!!
Oh and one last thing about him is that he sides with Russia, he’s telling people that the war is fake and it’s just a big movie set playing out..
Say what??

The saddest part for me is that I have had to let go a good friend of mine, he was one of those guys where you could easily sit down and have a drink with, he’s travelled the world in his beat up old car wearing a pink tutu, and we followed his journey from beginning to end.
But alas, it’s to be no more, he is now so far down the ‘rabbit hole’ that there is no way of pulling him out. I have tried over the last year or two, I have even linked him up to your pages, but no, to him you are just a government shill and to me i’m a sadist who follows the false claim and will be the next one to fall dead from the vaccinations I have had.
It is just sad to think that people like him, level headed people that have somehow become indoculated to believe what they think is the N.W.O. and the divide against the rest of us which is getting deeper and deeper by the day!

“The saddest part for me is that I have had to let go a good friend of mine”

That fricking sucks. Might even be something organic (personality changes in an older person?) but whatever the cause “protect yourself” may be the only effective measure you can take. Rabbit holes are evil; like a tiny devil’s anus. Sadly, some folk just get hooked on the taste.

A doozy of a conspiracy theory will be fully revealed in a forthcoming book co-authored by a former Trump advisor and by Kent “We Will Accept Your Surrender” Heckenlively.

“Presidential Takedown”, due for release in November (only $29.99 in hardcover!) will tell all. From the Amazon blurb:

“Supported by emails and documents, career epidemiologist (Paul Elias) Alexander* and New York Times-bestselling author Kent Heckenlively, JD, will not only show proof of a presidential takedown, but also of the personal vendetta of the CDC and HHS against Alexander himself. From unnecessary lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandates to the dismissal of effective treatments like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and vitamin D and even threats against President Trump and his family, Presidential Takedown: How Anthony Fauci, the CDC, NIH, and the WHO Conspired to Overthrow President Trump is the inside story of what really happened from those first COVID-19 reports to President Trump’s “loss” in November.”

Explosive stuff from the nether regions of antivax and Covid-19 denial-land. Be sure to wear your mask.

*Alexander’s Wikipedia bio identifies him as a Canadian health researcher who once worked on systematic reviews at the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He and his boss, Michael Caputo, an assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, tried to undermine pandemic guidance by Dr. Fauci and the CDC. Alexander wanted mass Covid-19 infection to develop “herd immunity”; his boss accused scientists of “sedition” and “rotten science”. Alexander showed great humility in an interview on why he opposed CDC scientists:

“None of those people have my skills. I make the judgement whether this is crap.”

“co-authored by a former Trump advisor”

This is no place for politics. Come on, man! When have we EVER had a US president flanked by military calling the other side ‘fascists’?

A struck dog howls and it only appears that Biden threw a rock and hit a lot of dogs. They would have you think GOP == Gaslight Obstruct Project

No, wait:

My dissapointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined over the SLS launch because this is the best possible outcome:

Ohh well. Another year, another billion dollars…


Judy Mikovits has been interviewed by Mike Adams. In extraordinary revelations, Judy has explained how glyphosate is the secret sauce in the hundreds of thousands of deaths from COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

Apparently, glyphosate acts like fangs on a snake to puncture holes in healthy cells so the mRNA vaccines can get in and do their damage. Glyphosate also acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up all the toxins and stuffing them into cells.

You do not need COVID-19 vaccines according to Judy, because it is not a virus. Instead, the disease is simply a cytokine storm caused by a snake with a vacuum cleaner.

Judy Mikovits has been interviewed by Mike Adams.

In related news, she’s utterly incompetent with hashtags.

The clearest indication that this book is nonsense is the claims about ivermectin and the other quack cures. That they have no efficacy is about as objective as you can get.

“Alexander showed great humility”

I’m not saying it’s the n-word. But it’s the n-word. These pathologicals cluster like flies on shit.

I’d like to see a study that evaluates the risk of COVID-19 infection for individuals that have acquired immunity to roundworms; roundworms stimulate the humoral immune system. In support of a robust humoral immune system, researchers found that people who reported having a physician-diagnosed food allergy had a 50% lower risk of COVID-19 infection.

@ Idw56old,

Is the use of Ivermection, for COVID-19, counterintuitive to the hygiene hypothesis?

I’m no expert but I bet having worms in yur liver is a factor. Thus, places with endemic worms would show a benefit.

So? He’s just asking questions. What’s wrong with asking questions? He’s got a lot of questions, and they haven’t been answered the way he wants them to be. So he’s going to keep right on asking.

Those ‘conspiracy theorists’ at the NIH quietly listed it as a treatment for COVID. You people are in a cult.

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