'Vaccinated my child without my consent': Rapper M.I.A. unloads on feds as COVID claims crumble

London-born rapper claimed the media turned vaccine skeptics like her into "murderers for believing we were healthy."

Updated: November 5, 2022 - 11:30pm

The London-born rapper Mathangi Arulpragasam, stage name M.I.A., isn't afraid to take on powerful American government and corporate interests. 

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire awardee performed in front of the Home Office in London in 2019 to protest the sought extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the U.S. She questioned the cultural dominance of the Black Lives Matter movement in America in 2016.

Before that the NFL tried to extract more than $16 million from M.I.A. for breach of contract: ruining its "reputation for wholesomeness" by flipping the bird during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. They settled privately.

But what has put the Sri Lankan Christian convert in the cultural cross hairs is her renewed criticism of the alliance between American public health regulators and pharmaceutical interests, in response to developments that illuminate the thinness of evidence invoked to authorize certain COVID-19 treatments.

The so-called bivalent boosters that include Omicron subvariants BA.4/5, authorized by the FDA without human trial data, perform no better than the original boosters, according to two recent preprint studies that are not yet peer-reviewed. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy tested positive for COVID twice in nine days last month, first after her bivalent booster and then after a five-day course of Pfizer's oral antiviral Paxlovid, which was authorized to treat high-risk people and not tested on vaccinated individuals like Walensky.

"Most of science is in bed with business," Arulpragasam wrote in a series of tweets in March 2020, preserved by the New York Daily News, questioning widely discussed medical interventions for COVID-19.

"Business is in bed with banks, banks are in bed with tech, techs [sic] in bed with us, we are in bed with corona. Corona is in bed with science," she wrote. "As an adult you have choice! By then you've built your immune system."

When another user called her an "anti vaxxer," Arulpragasam claimed her American son had a severe adverse reaction to a routine immunization required to enter school. "It was the hardest thing," she wrote in the since-deleted tweet. "To not have choice over this as a mother."

Walensky's Paxlovid rebound infection — which echoed those of White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden — prompted M.I.A. to unload Monday. 

"U vaccinated my child without my consent," the rapper tweeted in heavily abbreviated writing. "Made childrn criminals for turning up to school unless they took it. Gaslighted healthy ppl into thinking they r weak."

She claimed the media turned vaccine skeptics like her into "murderers for believing we were healthy." Doubling down three minutes later, M.I.A. wrote: "Show me what you did with the money. Show me the world that's better for it."

The artist is also on the warpath against "amnesty" for those who promoted or imposed COVID interventions that caused collateral damage or have since been acknowledged as scientifically unfounded, the subject of an Atlantic essay by Brown University economist Emily Oster.

"Satan loves to split up families," she tweeted, contrasting Oster's forgiveness-focused essay with the economist's December proposal to drive COVID vaccine uptake through "individual family pressure" and vaccine requirements for travel, employment and sports attendance.

She retweeted a Syrian YouTube influencer who responded to the essay: "Never forgive. Never forget."

M.I.A. "doesn’t shy from answering any question" in the presence of her public relations team, "even when the conversation turns to thornier topics," The Guardian reported last month in a profile of the artist for her sixth album drop.

Asked to explain her since-deleted tweet about right-wing personality Alex Jones' near-billion-dollar defamation verdict about the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting — "shouldn’t every celebrity pushing vaccines pay too?" — M.I.A. cited the coziness of Big Pharma with the U.S. medical system but also her lived experience.

"The language they use to attack anybody is to say: 'Oh, she's an anti-vaxxer' or blah blah blah," she told the British newspaper. "I know three people who have died from taking the vaccine and I know three people who have died from Covid," she said, accusing critics of trying to "gaslight me."

M.I.A. has reveled in the criticism of her heterodox views, sharing a "scary picture for halloween" of herself with conservative commentator Candace Owens, who interviewed the artist for her Daily Wire show.

She expressed amusement at "how scared the mainstream is of @elonmusk resetting twitter that finally they are coming out and admitting to the truth about the reset," apparently referring to the Atlantic "amnesty" essay.

Challenged as to why she's speaking on "world affairs," M.I.A. rattled off a 17-year list of names she's been called, including "terrorist lover," "Muslim lover," "antivaxxer" and "conspiracy theorist." The next day she posted a cheerier tweet: "I wanna hear both sides!"