An anti-vaccine right-wing radio host in West Palm Beach, Florida died Wednesday from COVID-19 complications.
Dick Farrel, 65, used his local talk show and social media to rail against Dr. Anthony Fauci, who he called a “power tripping lying freak,” and say that no one should get the coronavirus vaccine. When COVID-19 sent him to the hospital for three weeks, though, he changed his tune, urging friends to get vaccinated, friends told local station WPTV.
Farrel wrote in early July, “Vaccine Bogus Bull Shid!, Two peeps I know, got vaxed, now have Corona, hospitalized critical. Thank you Moderna, FOR NOTHING!” He erroneously told his followers they would not need the vaccine if they had already survived COVID-19. The CDC has advised former coronavirus patients to get vaccinated.
Two days later, he wrote, “Why take a vax promoted by people who lied 2u all along about masks.” He called Fauci “FOOT-chee” and said that the infectious disease expert and “power trip libb loons” Democrats were conspiring to make it seem like the pandemic was ongoing so they could grab more power.
In late June, he wrote, “So, u think it wasn’t a SCAM DEMIC? NOT ONE ELECTED DEMOCRAT ever tested positive.” He called masks “face diapers” and “face pantys.”
An ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, Farrel wrote often about baseless conspiracy theories of election fraud. In June, he penned a fearmongering post about liberals wanting to remove the American flag, writing, “Civil war beckons.”
Amy Leigh Hair, a close friend of Farrel, wrote on Facebook, “COVID took one of my best friends! RIP Dick Farrel. He is the reason I took the shot. He texted me and told me to ‘Get it!’ He told me this virus is no joke and he said, ‘I wish I had gotten it!’”
Hair later told WPTV, “I was one of the people like him who didn’t trust the vaccine. I trusted my immune system. I just became more afraid of getting COVID-19 than I was of any possible side effects of the vaccine. I’m glad I got vaccinated.”
The deep-voiced host, whose real name is Farrel Austin Levitt, also anchored for Newsmax after the radio station where he worked, WFLN, sold in 2016, according to friend and station owner George Kalman, who wrote Farrel’s obituary.
Farrel’s partner, Kit Farley, wrote on Facebook, “He was known as the other Rush Limbaugh. With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed.”
Farrel is one among several recent deaths of anti-vaccine advocates who have succumbed to COVID-19. Just this week, a Republican city councilman in Texas fought rapid and fatal bout with the virus that saw him hospitalized and dead within three days. He had used his position to advocate against vaccines and face masks.