Naomi Wolf Juneteenth Anti-Vax Event Cancelled In "Unavoidable Inconvenience"
Stand Up Massachusetts, one of the groups hosting the now cancelled Five Freedoms fundraiser, is now instead promoting a GOP-hosted "Freedom Isn't Free" Juneteenth event
An anti-vax event featuring conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf scheduled for Juneteenth was abruptly cancelled Tuesday because of a “scheduling issue.”
"We apologize for this unavoidable inconvenience," Stand Up Massachusetts, which along with Nobletown Productions was hosting the Wolf event, said in the update.
Undeterred, Stand Up Massachusetts is promoting another "freedom" oriented event on Juneteenth in Gloucester, Massachusetts, north of Boston on Cape Ann.
The “Freedom Isn’t Free” event, billed as nonpartisan, is being hosted by the Cape Ann Republican City and Town Committees.
“We are not slaves to mandate”
I broke the story of Wolf's involvement in the now-cancelled New York event—and the questionable justifications given by organizers for tying the fundraiser to Juneteenth—last week.
Event organizer Kathryn Levin told me that in her view, it's appropriate.
"The 19th is a day of emancipation, and it's a day when we claim our freedom," said Levin. "It's when we see that we are not slaves to mandate. It's when we take our power back."
I asked Levin how she analogized American chattel slavery—where slaves were whipped, beaten, raped, and murdered by their white masters for centuries—to the temporary restrictions over the last 15 months due to the pandemic.
"We have been enslaved by our government," she replied.
The reason behind the scheduling conflict that spurred the cancellation remains a mystery.
The anti-vax movement and the right
The intersection between the anti-vax movement and the far right became more pronounced over the past year as New Age western medicine skeptics and Trump-era Republicans both rejected temporary Covid restrictions.
As far back as May 20, Wolf's husband—a self-declared libertarian and private investigator—was promoting the Juneteenth fundraiser on Twitter.
Despite claims from anti-vax groups that they're nonpartisan, the political slant of their rhetoric is increasingly tilting to the right. And with Stand Up Massachusetts now promoting a GOP event in the eastern end of the state for the same day, the claims of ideological impartiality are harder to parse.
“I’m not anti-vax”
The Cape Ann GOP "Freedom Isn't Free" Juneteenth event will include "Live music, guest speakers, kids activities, and more!" according to the event flyer.
Hosting the event on Juneteenth is earning the local Republican group some heat, as the group's chair Ashley Marie Sullivan told me.
“I think that people are just trying to really look for problems where there aren't any,” she said.
It’s not the intention of her group to disrespect anyone, Sullivan said, but that they had paid for permits and were working with police—so calls to cancel the event were out of line.
Sullivan also told me her son is “vaccine-injured.” While she agrees in principle with vaccines, she is opposed to how they are being administered.
“I'm not anti-vax,” Sullivan said. “I'm more of, like, anti what we're doing right now.”
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