A Texas physician whose claims about COVID-19 were touted by then-President Trump is seeking $100 million from Anderson Cooper and CNN, saying that they defamed her.
Stella Immanuel, at microphone, in the video released by the group America’s Frontline Doctors.
Stella Immanuel came into the spotlight in July 2020 when Trump tweeted a video in which she promoted the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID patients.
On Tuesday, Immanuel filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming that, “in an effort to vilify, demonize and embarrass President Trump, Cooper and CNN published a series of statements of fact about Dr. Immanuel that injured her reputation and exposed her to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, and financial injury.”
The suit contends that hydroxychloroquine is “entirely effective” in the treatment of COVID. Immanuel says that CNN, in discrediting the drug, “effectively caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands whose lives would have been spared if they had been treated early with HCQ.”
Further, the lawsuit says, CNN and Cooper “juxtaposed a series of facts relating to Dr. Immanuel’s professional medical experience and opinions and her personal religious beliefs so as to imply a connection and create the impression that she was unfit to perform the duties of a licensed medical doctor.”
The “religious beliefs” included statements Immanuel had made in YouTube videos concerning sex acts with disembodied spirits and the use of “alien DNA” in medical treatments. The suit says CNN misquoted her on those matters, though it doesn’t clarify what she claims to have said.
Many other news outlets also reported on Immanuel’s more fringe beliefs, including the Washington Post, the BBC, the Hill, the Daily Beast and Fox News. They are not named in the suit.
The Immanuel video that Trump and Donald Trump Jr. shared was removed by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, which said it violated policies on spreading medical misinformation.
Early in the pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had allowed limited emergency use of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19, but in June 2020 it revoked that authorization, saying studies determined the drug was “unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19” and that it presented a risk of “serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects.”
In addition to $100 million in compensatory damages, Immanuel’s suit seeks punitive damages to be determined by a jury, court costs and interest.