April 21, 2020
Headline: Coronavirus: Anti-Immigration, Xenophobia and Homophobia
Short description: Extremists are using fear of the virus to stoke nativist, homophobic hate
As the coronavirus continues to surge globally, virus-related conspiracy theories are proliferating online. These antisemitic, xenophobic, hateful messages spread misplaced blame and misinformation, making it more difficult to access accurate information while elevating fear and anxiety. While some of these messages are new, many are simply old tropes repackaged for a modern pandemic.
Anti-Immigration and Xenophobia
Some are using the coronavirus to argue that the U.S. should restrict immigration by shutting down its borders and instituting a travel ban from foreign countries. While some cite actual public health figures, others lean on bigoted and xenophobic arguments for these policies.
- In these posts shared in January on Telegram and Twitter, the posters argue that immigration causes the spread of diseases and say that no immigration is the only way to keep the United States safe. In this framing, diseases are always foreign and brought by people from other countries.
- These Telegram messages from March directly link the spread of the coronavirus with diversity. This states that an anti-White coalition is trying to impose multiculturalism even at the cost of further infections.
- These messages similarly attack American immigration policies and link the pandemic with immigrants. These images were shared on March 17 (VK.com); March 23 (Twitter) and March 29 (Facebook)
- On Twitter, people are using the hashtag “TravelBanNow” to express their support for preventing foreigners from entering the U.S.
Some users on social media are attempting to use the coronavirus to advance their homophobic agenda by asserting that the virus is a punishment from God for supporting homosexuality.
- These Twitter posts and this article illustrate how people believe that the coronavirus is punishment from God for homosexuality.
- This March 15 Twitter post, which promotes the common conspiracy about martial law, expresses the desire that members of the LGBT community will be particularly targeted: