The tweet from Big Bird that caused waves of backlash from US Republicans and anti-vaxxers

Big Bird has been accused of being a "communist" and promoting "government propaganda" after the character tweeted about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Big Bird (L) and other Sesame Street puppet characters pose next to a Sesame Street sign in New York City.

Big Bird (L) and other Sesame Street puppet characters pose next to a Sesame Street sign in New York City. Source: Getty Images

Conservative politicians and anti-vaxxers in the United States are fuming after Sesame Street’s Big Bird took to Twitter to endorse the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.

“I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it'll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy,” Big Bird tweeted on Sunday.

“Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”

The tweet was written after Big Bird, who is six years old, appeared on a CNN town hall about COVID-19 vaccines with journalist Erica Hall.

It elicited a huge response, with US President Joe Biden chiming in to congratulate Big Bird on getting the jab.

“Good on ya, @BigBird,” he wrote on Twitter. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep your whole neighborhood safe.”

But it wasn’t long until anti-vaxxers and right-wing politicians flooded the replies and began attacking Big Bird over the tweet.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has posted about Big Bird several times since the tweet was first posted on Sunday.

"Government propaganda...for your 5 year old," he tweeted in one of his posts.

Republican senator for Arizona, Wendy Rogers, also hit out at the character, writing: “Big Bird is a communist."

Ms Rogers followed that tweet up with another that said “kids need to be listening to Jesus, not Big Bird", while conservative activist Tom Fitton tweeted: “Leave our kids alone”.

Many of Big Bird’s supporters defended the tweet and said it was absurd that some were engaging with a fictional character in the way they were.

“Nothing sums up 2021 quite like the number of adults in the replies cursing out a fictional bird,” one person tweeted.

“Big Bird is kind, compassionate, empathetic, loving, adored, and vaccinated. Ted Cruz is...vaccinated,” Mary Trump, niece of former US President Donald Trump, tweeted.

Others pointed out that vaccine promotion in TV and pop culture is not new.

"In 1972, under a Republican President, Sesame Street, using Big Bird, was encouraging people to get vaccinated," wrote Mike Harvey, a Senate candidate for Florida.

"1972 we understood the power of working together against a common enemy, disease. Let’s find our way back."

Mr Biden said last week the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 was a "turning point" in the pandemic.

"It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others," he said.

There have been more than 46 million reported cases of COIVD-19 and 754,000 deaths in the US since the start of the pandemic.

3 min read
Published 9 November 2021 at 8:52am
By Eden Gillespie
Source: SBS News