Phil Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had mocked Covid-19 vaccines, has died at the age of 61 following a battle with the virus.
Nashville radio station SuperTalk 99.7 WTN confirmed Phil Valentine's death in a tweet Saturday. "We are saddened to report that our host and friend Phil Valentine has passed away," a spokesperson wrote. "Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers."
Valentine Recorded a Parody Song Titled "Vaxman," Which Mocked the Vaccine
Phil Valentine had been a radio personality since he was 20 and became a popular conservative host by railing against a state income tax proposed by Republican then-Gov. Don Sundquist, according to The Associated Press.
Various media reports suggest that Valentine was a vaccine skeptic and disagreed with mask mandates. In December of 2020 he tweeted "I have a very low risk of A) Getting COVID and B) dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?" He also recorded a parody song titled "Vaxman," which mocked the vaccine, according to WTVF.
Valentine's Stance on Vaccines Changed After He Was Diagnosed with Covid-19
Valentine was diagnosed with Covid-19 last month. He reportedly suffered from Covid pneumonia. He was in the hospital in the critical care unit breathing with assistance but was not on a ventilator.
After he tested positive for Covid-19, and prior to his hospitalization, he told his listeners to consider, "If I get this Covid thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?" If so, he advised them to get vaccinated. He said he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he probably wouldn't die, according to The Associated Press.
'Valentine Regrets Not Being More Vehemently Pro-Vaccine'
By July 22, Valentine's condition had worsened significantly, which led his brother Mark to share a statement with his fans, via SuperTalk's official Facebook page, reported Deadline Hollywood. "Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an "anti-vaxer" he regrets not being more vehemently 'Pro-Vaccine'," he wrote, "and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon."
"I know if he were able to tell you this, he would tell you, 'Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories," Mark Valentine told The Tennessean on July 25.
Social Media Reactions
Many on social media have expressed that Valentine's death was totally preventable.
Some netizens hoped that this incident encourages his listeners to talk to their doctors for medical information. One comment read, "He was not just a skeptic. He openly mocked COVID and ending up reaping what he sowed. I hope his listeners did not follow his example."
Another comment read, "It is really sad that there are so many people still locked in to the misinformation. Unwilling to get the shot developed for HUMANS to fight a VIRUS, but totally willing to take a drug that is given to COWS to fight off PARASITES. How does this make sense to anyone???"