Robert Kennedy Jr. apologizes for invoking Anne Frank at an anti-vaccine rally

I generally avoid covering Robert Kennedy Jr. because he makes me so uncomfortable. Here’s a guy with an impeccably liberal pedigree and the aura of the Kennedy name, and he’s best known these days for being an anti-vaxxer who says terrible sh-t all the time. Even before the pandemic, RFK Jr. was an anti-vaxxer. His name came up in 2019, in association with Jessica Biel – they were working together to encourage California schools to ease vaccine mandates. On Sunday, Robert Kennedy Jr. was speaking at a rally called Defeat the Mandate: An American Homecoming. I CAN’T. The rally was being held at the Lincoln Memorial, which is shameful. At the rally, RFK Jr. said terrible words:

During a Sunday rally in Washington organized by his anti-vaccine nonprofit group Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy complained that people’s rights were being violated by public health measures that had been taken to reduce the number of people sickened and killed by COVID-19. He said the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, was orchestrating “fascism.”

“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” said Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the son of his slain brother, former U.S. attorney general, civil rights activist and Democratic presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy.

Kennedy Jr. went on to say that today, “the mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so none of us can run and none of us can hide,” and complained about 5G, the newest generation of wireless communication networks, and about vaccine passports.

[From ABC]

It’s horrifying and also unbelievably stupid? That’s another reason why I hate writing about him, it feels like people are amplifying what amounts to hate speech. I mean, he’s literally standing up there, lending the Kennedy aura to 5G conspiracies and saying that at least in Nazi Germany, you could…hide in the attic from a vaccine mandate…?

Obviously, people were outraged. The Anti-Defamation League issued statements, The Auschwitz Museum issued a statement, and even RFK Jr’s wife Cheryl Hines issued a statement:

What’s sad is that this is not the first time RFK Jr. has even drawn parallels between vaccines, vaccine mandates and Nazi Germany. This is just the first time he’s ever had to face this kind of widespread condemnation for it. Which might explain why his apology, which he issued yesterday, was so bad.

“My intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control…” YOU USED ANNE FRANK’S NAME TO SPREAD A 5G CONSPIRACY.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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51 Responses to “Robert Kennedy Jr. apologizes for invoking Anne Frank at an anti-vaccine rally”

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  1. minx says:

    He gets uglier every time I see a picture of him. Arrogant and vile.

    • Snappyfish says:

      What was most upsetting is the Anne Frank wasn’t hiding in Switzerland she was in Amsterdam ((Netherlands)) & things didn’t work out for Anne in the end . Using the holocaust in the same breath as vaccines is beyond deplorable, it’s obtuse. He is given a platform because of his last name. His comments were shameful & his “apology” was hollow

    • Mac says:

      It wasn’t that long ago that he was a major figure in the environmental movement. Something triggered this bizarre change in beliefs and behaviors.

    • His steroid use is making him crazier then normal. He’s very puffed up.

  2. Bettyrose says:

    His wife’s tweet is brutal. You know you’ve done wrong when your own spouse is like “don’t know him.”

    • Amy Bee says:

      @Bettyrose: She had to do this. She still has a career in Hollywood.

    • Beenie says:

      I’ve always really liked Cheryl Hines. She was my favourite part of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

      I find the fact that she married this guy to be very disappointing 😞.

    • Anony83 says:

      I’m so confused (1) that those two are married and I didn’t have any idea and (2) more importantly, if I ever find myself in the position of having to issue a formal denial of my husband’s opinions on Twitter, I’d like to think that’s the moment when I’d say “huh, maybe I should find a divorce attorney.”

      Also, she lives with his unvaccinated butt so her denial lacks a certain heat.

      • MissMarirose says:

        We don’t actually know if he’s unvaccinated. He did an interview where he was directly asked, refused to answer, and got super defensive with the interviewer.

      • i would bet a LARGE amount of money he is vaxxed. She wants to work, and just like Jason Momoa, she is NOT going to endanger her career and become uninsurable because she has an unvaxxed mate (And in Momoa’s case- unvaxxed children too).

        Also, read below. If she was requiring negative tests and vaccinations, I would bet she ain’t putting up with him being unvaccinated. I like her for it, but how the hell do you not side-eye her for being married to this crackpot?! I’d love to hear what Wanda Sykes thinks about all this.

    • atorontogal says:

      If anyone knows better than I please correct me, but wasn’t Cheryl with him while he was still married to his wife who hung herself? Or am I mixing people up? I do that sometimes.
      Anyway, my opinion of her lowered immediately after she married this asshat.

    • lucy2 says:

      I listen to her podcast with Tig Notaro, it’s really funny, and I like them both a lot. She said on a recent one that she was getting over break through covid and she was vaccinated. All of this has to cause a strain on their marriage, and she really doesn’t mention him much anymore, like she used to.
      He’s been like this a long time though, and that kind of thinking would be a deal breaker for me. But I can’t imagine having to issue that kind of statement, ugh.

      • Maria+T. says:

        Yes, I listen to that podcast too and she seems delightful! I clocked that she mentioned being vaccinated because I have wondered about that marriage. Also noticed that they BOTH used to talk about “Bobby” ALL the time in the beginning and now nothing. I figured he asked her to stop talking about him. I have actually wondered if I would have to stop listening to it because of his nonsense. Didn’t his siblings write a letter denouncing his views a year ago or so?

        He is really tarnishing his father’s legacy.

      • lucy2 says:

        Interesting that we both noticed it! I was actually wondering if they’d quietly split up, but then the news about the holiday party came out, so I guess not.
        If you haven’t already seen it, Tig has a fairly new HBO special called Drawn that is so good. Her humor is perfect for me, but I also really enjoy the dynamic she and Cheryl have together.

        He had such a good reputation for environmentalism too, I think, and now…this. Ugh.

    • Tanguerita says:

      She backpedalled really fast though.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      His wife’s tweet really wasn’t brutal. She waited a couple of days until she was specifically asked about his statements and responded to that question with a tepid response saying they don’t share identical views on everything. It wasn’t until after she was criticized for that response that (her publicist surely demanded) she issued a statement calling the language reprehensible. She’s looking to avoid damage to her career

  3. FHMom says:

    If I were Cheryl, I would divorce his dumb, hateful ass ASAP. There is no way to make the stench of his words go away. I’m not a huge Kennedy fan, but he is damaging their name every time he opens his mouth.

    • Miranda says:

      Seriously, what he said would absolutely be grounds for divorce in my book. I could not respect, much less love, someone who is so willfully ignorant and uses his platform to perpetuate absurd lies that are literally killing people.

    • Jaded says:

      I would dump his a$$ like a hot turd. I had the great misfortune to work with him about 10 years ago at our company’s annual conference — he was keynote speaker. He is as obnoxious, entitled, smug, arrogant and tempermental as you imagine. I cannot fathom why she married him, unless it was for the Kennedy cachet. But now that a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming, I wonder what Larry David thinks of Cheryl’s bad choice of husband? I really hope she divorces him.

    • Tanguerita says:

      Why do you assume that she doesn’t share his views?

  4. Songs (Or It Didn't Happen) says:

    I would like to note here that someone spouting conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, 5G and government tracking, has a Twitter account. That he probably uses on his iPhone.

    But yes, go on….

    • Bettyrose says:


    • lucy2 says:

      I know! That always cracks me up, in a sad way, when people are ranting about the government tracking them, and they have a cell phone of any kind. Hello! Also, these are the people who think they are way more important than they are – the government doesn’t give a crap what they’re doing.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    His sister Kerry has also condemned his statement and distanced the family from his actions. He could have done so much with his platform, including trying to carry out the ambitions of his father but he does this instead.

    • Barbie1 says:

      Another conspiracy theory brain that will never recognize common sense or reason ever again.

  6. Who+ARE+these+people? says:

    Didn’t they throw a party that required proof of vaccination?

    He’s been like this for some time, did she just notice?

    Also, the Jews could just cross the Alps to Switzerland? Did he learn about WWIII by watching The Sound of Music?

    • JRenee says:

      I can’t. He’s unhinged..

    • Willow says:

      He stated that HIS WIFE required proof of vaccination or a negative covid test to attend the party THEY hosted. BUT admitted that SHE never actually checked, so they don’t know if anyone who came to the party was vaccinated and/or had covid. Nice huh?

  7. tanesha86 says:

    I just know Bobby Kennedy is rolling over in his grave. Cheryl needs to run for the hills, fast!

  8. Tootsie McJingle says:

    Is Jessica Biel anti vax?

  9. WingKingdom says:

    Gee, if people could have just crossed the Alps or hidden in an attic during the Holocaust, I wonder why millions of people died horrifically?

    Anti-vaxxers are welcome to hide in their attics. Indefinitely.

    • A says:

      His comments simultaneously diminish how terrifying and tragic the f-king Holocaust is while positioning himself and people who think like him as the ultimate victims. Man’s flirting with antisemitism and Holocaust denial because of a minor inconvenience.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      “Anti-vaxxers are welcome to hide in their attics. Indefinitely.”

      seriously, that’s a perfect solution and follows his logic.

      man, he’s awful. and yes to all of the above about Hines leaving his sorry azz.

  10. Ayala says:

    Ah yes, as a granddaughter of four Holocaust survivors, i’ll never forget my grandparents stories about how the Nazis tried to protect their health by giving them a vaccine…

    WTF is wrong with people.

  11. superashes says:

    Ugh. It is getting harder and harder to watch Curb your Enthusiasm at this point, between Cheryl Hines being married to this guy and Jeff Garlin.

  12. GuestWho says:

    Looks like the QAnon folks are worshiping the wrong Kennedy. Instead of his dead cousin, they should be focused on this jerk – he’d fit right in.

  13. Jess says:

    He is trash. I don’t know why Cheryl is still with him, but I guess the appeal of being married to a Kennedy is strong. Didn’t she marry him even though he cheated on her while they were dating? Also, her first responses to his garbage take were much milder – I think she must have done the above denunciation after her initial response got pushback.

  14. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    His grandfather Joseph P Kennedy Sr. was ambassador to London for FDR. He was recalled for backing appeasement to Hitler instead of telling him to go pound sand before WW2 began.
    So I am sure RFK Jr. heard stories, maybe not exactly from his granddad (who I believe had a major stroke that left him pretty useless during JFK administration) but those stories were out there.
    I used to like him and felt like he was the one who would carry on for his Dad. Guess not. As @tanesha86 said above Bobby Sr is rolling over in his grave.

  15. Chaine says:

    He has destroyed his own personal legacy of decades as a crusader against environmental pollution. Something seems to have happened, as to so many others in recent years, that tripped a switch in his brain and sent him off on a wrong path. I read that he now doesn’t believe Sirhan assassinated RFK Sr, even though the shooting happened in a crowded enclosed space with multiple witnesses and Sirhan immediately confessed!

  16. AnneL says:

    Rule of thumb when one is inclined to compare something to the Holocaust or, more egregious yet, suggest something is WORSE than the Holocaust? Don’t.

    Ugh. So sad. I think Cheryl might be distancing herself in her own side of the house for a while.

  17. Izzy says:

    As a Jew, I do not accept his apology. He knew exactly what he was saying and how inappropriate it was, when he said it. Boy, BYE.

  18. Wrin says:

    What I find disturbing is that folks can’t disagree without folks in the opposing camp flipping all the way out. Are we so entitled to believe that if someone disagrees with
    our views/beliefs/stance, then s/he is “stupid” or some other disdainful word?

  19. ScarcasmQueen says:

    It’s not even a good analogy since you actually could just stay home if you don’t want to get vaccinated. You might have to change jobs, not eat out, do curbside pickup at the grocery store. You could totally stay in your attic and keep your germs to yourself.

    And as a bonus, unlike Anne Frank and the millions who were persecuted, there aren’t entire police forces combing the streets, looking to send you to a death camp and summarily execute anyone who helped you stay home.

  20. Lena Horne says:

    Why is she with him to begin with? Wasnt he the one who wanted to get an annulment even though he had kids with one wife? He isnt any prize and if she is married to him, neither is she.

  21. MA says:

    Trash trash trash. He should be deplatformed and not allowed to spread his hate and misinformation.

  22. Ivorychopsticks says:

    “to the extent that people were hurt” is, as always, a garbage non-apology. It is useful to gauge people who are 100% not sorry for what they said, and still actually believe it, they just wish other people weren’t upset by it. Ugh.

  23. jferber says:

    Merlin’sMom1018, I believe FDR’s words were, “Get that son of a bitch out of there.”