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Stella Immanuel

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Stella Immanuel
Born1965 (age 54–55)
Other namesStella Gwandiku-Tita, Stella Gwandiku Fondong
Alma materUniversity of Calabar (MD)
Occupation
  • Physician
  • author
  • pastor

Stella Gwandiku-Ambe Immanuel (born 1965) is a Cameroonian-American physician, author, and pastor.[1] She emigrated to the United States after completing her medical education in Nigeria, and currently practices at a private clinic in Texas.

In 2020, she received international attention after claiming hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19, and that public health measures such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing are unnecessary.[2] Social media platforms removed her videos and posts for promoting misinformation related to the pandemic.[3]

As the founder of a charismatic religious organization, Fire Power Ministries, she has made various fringe claims about other medical conditions, especially as it relates to human sexuality,[4] including that endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, and sexually transmitted infections are caused by spirit spouses. She has also endorsed a number of conspiracy theories, including the involvement of space aliens and the Illuminati in manipulating society and government.

Early life and education

Stella Gwandiku-Ambe Immanuel was born in 1965 in Cameroon.[1] She recalled an interest in becoming a doctor from the age of four.[5] Immanuel attended Cameroon Protestant College, a secondary school in Bali, Cameroon. She graduated from the Nigerian medical school at the University of Calabar in 1990 and moved to the United States in 1992.[5][6] Immanuel completed a pediatric residency at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York City.[5]

Career

Immanuel began her career at the Pediatric Clinic in Louisiana.[6] In December 1998, she began practicing at the Southern Pediatric Clinic in Alexandria, Louisiana. In February 1999, she joined the General Pediatric Care Clinic as a pediatrician.[5] In 2006, she owned the Rapha Medical and Therapeutic Clinic in Louisiana.[6] She is a registered physician in Texas with an active medical license from the Texas Medical Board.[7][8] In 2019, she began working for Houston's Rehoboth Medical Center, which she also owns.[6]

Immanuel is the founder of Fire Power Ministries and host of a radio and television show entitled Fire Power. She is a self-described "wealth transfer coach", and has authored several books as part of her Occupying Force series. She has been an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, and long-time critic of what she views as sexual immorality, including "unmarried couples living together, homosexuality, bestiality, polygamy" and what she calls "homosexual terrorism".[6][9][10] According to Concordia University theological studies professor André Gagné, Immanuel's beliefs trace back to African Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement.[11]

A January 2020 medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Immanuel in Louisiana alleged that a 2019 patient died as a result of negligence, from an infection caused by a lodged needle fragment which another doctor subsequently removed. In April 2020, local deputies were unable to serve notice of the suit because Immanuel had moved to Houston, where she set up a new practice in a strip mall.[12]

Medical claims and other claims

Immanuel's medical claims are sometimes combined with her spiritual beliefs: many gynecological illnesses are the result of having sex dreams with succubi and incubi and receiving demon sperm; endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, and sexually transmitted infections are caused by spirit spouses.[7][13] She asserted in a 2015 sermon that space alien DNA is used in medical treatments and that "reptilian spirits" and other extraterrestrials run the U.S. government.[13][14] She also said in 2015 that Illuminati are using witches to destroy the world through abortion, gay marriage, children's toys and media (e.g. Harry Potter, Pokémon, Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana). In another 2015 sermon, she said scientists are developing vaccines to stop people from being religious.[7][13]

COVID-19 misinformation

On July 27, 2020, Immanuel appeared in a Tea Party Patriots-backed press event by a group known as "America's Frontline Doctors"[a] in front of the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court Building.[15] She claimed she had cured COVID-19 in 350 patients at her clinic using a combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc (a claim not supported by any strong scientific research; no drug has been approved as a specific cure for COVID-19), and that public health measures such as the wearing of facial coverings and social distancing are unnecessary. Republican Representative Ralph Norman from South Carolina attended the event.[16] The far-right Breitbart News website published the press event's video.[17]

The antimalarial medication hydroxychloroquine had previously had its emergency use authorization for COVID-19 removed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which said it had not been proven to be an effective treatment for the virus.[7][15][16][18][19]

The video was viewed millions of times and retweeted by Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., before it was removed from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube because it broke their rules on misinformation.[3] When asked at a press conference on July 28 why he would trust Immanuel considering the context of her claims about alien DNA and its supposed use in medicine, President Trump defended Immanuel, saying "I thought she was very impressive, in the sense that, from where she came—I don't know what country she comes from—but she said she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her."[7] Pressed further, Trump ended the briefing abruptly.[20]

Immanuel subsequently said "Jesus Christ would destroy Facebook's servers" if the video was not restored,[4] and took to Twitter to accuse tech companies of censorship, in a post that was also subsequently removed from the platform.[12]

Notes

  1. ^ According to reporting by the Agence France-Presse on July 28, 2020, the website for America's Frontline Doctors was registered only days earlier, and had since been taken down.[14]

References

  1. ^ a b Olewe, Dickens (July 29, 2020). "Stella Immanuel – the doctor behind unproven coronavirus cure claim". BBC News. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  2. ^ Matthews, Melissa (July 28, 2020). "Don't Believe These 3 Dangerous Lies from the Viral Stella Immanuel Video". Men's Health. Archived from the original on August 1, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Gillespie, Tom (July 29, 2020). "Coronavirus: Trump walks out of briefing amid questions over his support of misleading video". Sky News. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Sommer, Will (July 28, 2020). "Trump's New Favorite COVID Doctor Believes in Alien DNA, Demon Sperm, and Hydroxychloroquine". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Martin, Karen E. (February 14, 1999). "New Pediatrician". The Town Talk. Alexandria, Louisiana. p. 80. Retrieved July 29, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b c d e Okunnu, Olubunmi (July 28, 2020). "Dr Stella Immanuel biography". BBC News Pidgin. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Andrews, Travis M.; Paquette, Danielle (July 29, 2020). "Trump retweeted a video with false covid-19 claims. One doctor in it has said demons cause illnesses". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  8. ^ "Texas Medical Board".
  9. ^ Warnock, Caroline (July 28, 2020). "Dr. Stella Immanuel: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  10. ^ Hananoki, Eric (July 28, 2020). "Trump-promoted Dr. Stella Immanuel said homosexuality is the "agenda of the Devil"". MediaMatters.org. Media Matters for America. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  11. ^ Smietana, Bob (July 29, 2020). "Why is Trump supporter Stella Immanuel talking about demon sex and spiritual warfare? A professor explains". Religion News Service. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Hensley, Nicole; Lewis, Brooke A. (July 29, 2020). "Houston doctor behind hydroxychloroquine drug video was sued in Louisiana woman's death". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Pitofsky, Marina (July 28, 2020). "Doctor retweeted by Trump has warned of alien DNA, sex with demons". The Hill. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Aliens and 'reptilians': US viral video doctor's odd beliefs". Agence France-Presse. July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020 – via France 24.
  15. ^ a b Frenkel, Sheera; Alba, Davey (July 28, 2020). "Misleading Virus Video, Pushed by the Trumps, Spreads Online". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Funke, Daniel (July 28, 2020). "Don't fall for this video: Hydroxychloroquine is not a COVID-19 cure". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  17. ^ Greve, Joan E.; Pengelly, Martin (July 28, 2020). "Twitter limits Donald Trump Jr's account for posting Covid-19 misinformation". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  18. ^ Giles, Christopher; Sardarizadeh, Shayan; Goodman, Jack (July 28, 2020). "Hydroxychloroquine: Why a video promoted by Trump was pulled on social media". BBC News. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  19. ^ Spencer, Saranac Hale; Fichera, Angelo (July 28, 2020). "In Viral Video, Doctor Falsely Touts Hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 'Cure'". FactCheck.org. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  20. ^ Liptak, Kevin (July 29, 2020). "Trump abruptly ends briefing after being pressed over retweeting misinformation". CNN. Archived from the original on July 30, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.

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