Fox News host Tucker Carlson lashed out at Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for bringing charges against a group of people who allegedly were buying and selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards.
Mr Carlson complained on Thursday that Mr Vance charged 15 people – about half of whom face felony charges – for selling the fake cards, arguing that they are “law-abiding Americans” who did nothing seriously wrong.
“Buying a fake vaccination card is not a, quote, ‘serious crime’. It’s not even close to a serious crime,” Mr Carlson said. “Buying a fake vaccination card is an act of desperation by decent, law-abiding Americans who have been forced into a corner by tyrants.”
Mr Carlson continued, arguing that vaccine mandates were criminal.
“You know what’s a serious crime? Forcing Americans to take drugs they don’t need or want. That’s a very serious crime. And let’s hope, in the end, someone is punished for it, severely,” he said.
Mr Carlson has previously called on his viewers to call the police to report parents whose children are wearing masks.
He also complained that healthcare workers know vaccine science better than politicians do. He was referencing reports that 13 of the individuals Mr Vance brought charges against are healthcare workers.
“In good conscience, they’ve risked their careers to preserve their right to bodily autonomy and now they’re in jail for that,” Mr Carlson said, just moments after celebrating Texas’s extremely restrictive abortion ban.
Doctors and nurses have overwhelmingly come out in support of the vaccine, with many reporting that the majority of individuals falling ill due to the Delta variant are unvaccinated.
Mr Vance called on Facebook – which owns Instagram, one of the sites where the fake cards were being sold for $200 – to help stamp out fraud on its platforms.
“We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent the fraud happening on their platforms,” Mr Vance said in a statement. “Making, selling, and purchasing forged vaccination cards are serious crimes with serious public safety consequences.”
Mr Carlson is an outspoken vaccine skeptic and has pushed alternative medications, like the Ivermectin dewormer.
He suggested that Mr Vance’s prosecution of the card counterfeiters is a precursor to calls for digital vaccine passports, which some states, like New York, already use.