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Readers Respond to a Portland Academic Touting Ivermectin

“Well, I guess the good news is that neither of them has any worms.”

Last week, WW examined the unlikely trajectory of academic Bret Weinstein, who went from a teaching job at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., to co-hosting a podcast in the West Hills of Portland, where he espouses the health benefits of ivermectin (“Drug & Pony Show,” Sept. 15, 2021). That drug, commonly used as a horse dewormer, is sought as a remedy for COVID-19 by people skeptical of vaccines. Weinstein says he’s a progressive nonconformist who is challenging the power of pharmaceutical companies over medicine. His detractors note how he, like many guests of Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, is using his liberal bona fides to dabble in conspiracy theories. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Barbara Linssen, via Facebook: “Thank you, WW, for the warning that this very dangerous person is now in Portland. The damage he did to Evergreen because he is too fond of hearing his own mouth and cannot read the room to save his own career is hard to calculate. He didn’t give a damn about his students who told him they were being hurt by his stubborn desire to debate a topic (racism in higher ed) that is beyond debate. Everyone in his community was telling him to stop, to let it go…he couldn’t because he enjoyed the oxygen and attention too much. Lo and behold, just four years later, with his academic career in ruins, he’s suddenly an expert on coronaviruses and medications? That’s a broad swath of destruction from one mild professor-looking guy.”

Drsoup01, via wweek.com: “Weinstein (and his wife [Heather] Heying) are no dummies. Catering to conspiracy theorists is much more lucrative than academia.”

Dj sacrilegious, via Twitter: “Oh yes, a ‘Bernie Bro’ who brought Andy Ngo on his podcast, empathized with Derek Chauvin, rallied against support of nonwhite academics, and calls Portland a dystopia. C’mon…”

Jennifer Hope Bennett, via Facebook: “This is nothing more than a hit piece to discredit him.…Portland use to be full of some really smart people who questioned things, had solid debates and open minds. I’m guessing those people were a part of the mass exodus and this comment section is what’s left.”

Bob Burns, via wweek.com: “Well, I guess the good news is that neither of them has any worms.”

AGPhilbin, via wweek.com: “Why can’t we get the vaccine, wear masks indoors (or at large outdoor gatherings), take vitamins C, D and zinc, AND also take doctor-prescribed doses of the human version of ivermectin (not the horse paste)? I think Bret & Heather are treading into an area where they have limited knowledge, but they are not 100% wrong, either. Why is everything either/or?”

Valerie Wallace, via wweek.com: “My dad developed this drug. Merck discovered that it had weak anti-viral properties in human tissue samples, and started doing research to see if it was effective against HIV in the 1990s. They were never able to get results outside of human tissue. Doses made for large animals will poison you. Doses made for humans are ineffective against viruses. There is 30 years of research trying to figure out how to make ivermectin work as an anti-viral, and it just doesn’t. My dad’s advice is to get the vaccine. P.S. My dad lives in the Portland area.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words. Submit to: PO Box 10770, Portland OR 97296. Email: mzusman@wweek.com.