A number of social media posts to pretend that Rady Johnsonthe executive vice president of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of fraud by US federal agents.
A version of posts include what looks like a screenshot of a tweet from an account with the name “Trevor Lloyd-Jones” and handle @lloydjones. The tweet bed“It’s begun. #Pfizer VP was arrested at his home and charged with multiple counts of fraud by US Federal Agents. #PfizeGate #PfizerDump”.
Another version adds details, attributing the message to something received on the Signal messaging app: “Rady Johnson, the executive vice president of Pfizer, was arrested at his home and charged with multiple counts of fraud by federal agents. This comes as thousands of classified Pfizer documents have been released showing the true risks of experimental vaxxin.”
“Experimental vaxxin” refers to the vaccine against Covid-19, one of which is manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech and known as Pfizer-BioNTech or Cominarty vaccine.
We found the original Tweeterpublished on May 7, 2022. It links to a article by a website called the Vancouver Time. Somewhat confusingly, the article includes a number of tweets that link to the article itself. So what’s going on here?
Openly satirical site
On his about usthe Vancouver Times states: “The Vancouver Times is the most trusted source of satire on the West Coast. We write satirical articles on issues that affect conservatives. We are in no way affiliated with mainstream media (CBC, CTV, etc.), and any similarity between our content and the work of MSM is purely coincidental.
However, many social media users and people commenting on the article seem to be treating the story as factual. This has been identified by some researchers as a growing problem, contributing to the spread of false information online. Although not an easy term to define, satire must be understood as satire – as not being true – to be effective.
But is there any truth to this story?
No evidence Johnson was arrested, Pfizer vaccine not ‘experimental’
Searching for the phrases “Rady Johnson arrest” and “Rady Johnson fraud” turned up no reports from credible news organizations.
There is no evidence that Johnson was charged or arrested for fraud. There is also no evidence that classified Pfizer documents have been leaked.
The vaccine has received the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on August 23, 2021. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahrpa) approved the vaccine on September 10, after granting a first emergency authorization for its use on March 16.
As of May 16, 2022, 26,825,211 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been administered in South Africa. This included first, second and encore.
Side effects of widely publicized Covid-19 vaccines
Redness and swelling at the injection site
New or worsening muscle pain
There is no evidence that Pfizer’s Rady Johnson was arrested “on multiple counts of fraud” – the source of this social media claim is an article published as a satire. But there is plenty of evidence to show that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and that the “true risks” or side effects of the vaccine have been made clear to the public.