Conspiracy Video Goes Viral in Threat to France’s Vaccine Push

A documentary questioning the purpose of coronavirus vaccines has gone viral in France after endorsements from politicians and celebrities, some of whom later withdrew their support.

“Hold Up” got more than 4 million views onGoogle’s YouTube and other platforms over a couple of days last week, helped along on social media by public figures including lawmakers, former First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and actor Sophie Marceau.

Suspicions over the safety and effectiveness of vaccines are widespread in France. In a study released this week by the liberal think tank Fondation Jean-Jaures, 43% of respondents said they would refuse to get a shot — 7 percentage points more than in the U.S., and twice as many as in the U.K.

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The video, which is more than two hours long, suggests the global response to Covid-19 is a plot hatched by big drug companies and governments to create a surveillance state and a submissive population.

Marceau posted an ad for the documentary on her Instagram feed, which was “liked” by 23,800 people. One of those was Bruni-Sarkozy, who then canceled it, saying she had thought the actor was posting about one of her movies. Bruni-Sarkozy’s press assistant said she doesn’t support conspiracy theories.

Lawmaker and former digital affairs minister Mounir Mahjoubi called the video “the first French-language conspiracy-theory super-production.” It contains echoes of the English-language documentary “Plandemic” that also wentviral earlier this year.

The French video includes on-camera interviews with scientists, researchers and former health minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who said later he’d not been aware of its conspiracy angle andwithdrew his support.

Part or all of the documentary was still available on YouTube and Facebook on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Facebook and Instagram said the company attached a warning label to the video. A representative for Google couldn’t be reached for comment.

— With assistance by Mark Bergen

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