Conservative news channel Newsmax on Wednesday acknowledged that employees attending the company’s holiday reception in New York must provide proof of vaccination, adding that a negative COVID test will not be sufficient.
On Tuesday night, a day before the party was scheduled to be held, an internal email reminding all employees about the party was passed around on conservative Twitter, with the location redacted.
The Newsmax memo included one important note: Anyone attending the NYC event “will need to show a vaccination card, or photo image of one” on their phone. Because a negative COVID test alone would not suffice, employees who have not gotten their shots yet would not be allowed to enter.
A Newsmax spokesperson confirmed the memo to The Daily Beast on Wednesday morning, noting that the rules only applied to the network’s New York office because of the state and city vaccine mandates.
“Newsmax has had several holiday parties at different locations and the company has no requirement for vaccination to attend any of these,” the network wrote in a statement. “New York City, however, mandated a vaccination card for entry to restaurants and public venues.”
The network added: “Newsmax has no company mandate for vaccinations, though we encourage our staff to get vaccinated.”
The Daily Beast confirmed the reception will be held Wednesday evening at the Oak Room in New York City’s famed Plaza Hotel, which currently requires all guests above the age of 12 to provide proof of at least one vaccination dose.
Newsmax has recently come under fire from many on the right—including some of its employees—over its vaccine policy, which is in line with the Biden administration’s requirements for large private businesses. While Newsmax has gone to great lengths to insist that it doesn’t have a vaccine rule, the network will require employees to either submit their vaccination card by Jan. 4 or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Of course, the pro-Trump outlet’s internal stance on vaccinations and coronavirus mitigation efforts flies in the face of the negative coverage of vaccine mandates from its own hosts and commentators.
At the same time, however, Newsmax has parted ways with some of its most extreme voices recently. Former Trump adviser Steve Cortes’ recent departure from the network as a primetime host, for instance, was precipitated by his public opposition to Newsmax’s vaccine rules, with sources telling The Daily Beast his loud criticism was the final straw.
Furthermore, the right-wing channel benched White House correspondent Emerald Robinson after she repeatedly peddled a conspiracy theory that the vaccines contain satanic, “bioluminescent” tracking devices. Newsmax confirmed this week that Robinson, who has been off the air since early last month, will not return to the network.
—With additional reporting by Diana Falzone.