- US Army reservist and mother of two Maatje Benassi has been the target of a conspiracy theorist on YouTube, falsely accusing her of bringing the coronavirus through a biochemical weapon to Wuhan, China.
- The lives of the Benassi couple, Maatje and her husband Matt, turned upside down, especially when YouTuber George Webb posted the couple’s address online, which later led to them receiving hate mails from conspiracy believers.
- “I know it will never be the same. Every time you’re going to Google my name, it will pop up as patient zero,” Benassi said.
Maatje Benassi, a United States Army reservist and a mother of two, competed in the Military World Games in Wuhan, China in October 2019. She joined the cycling competition and later sustained a fractured rib and a concussion after an accident during her final cycling lap. Despite the crash, Benassi endured the pain and finished the race.
The injury did heal eventually but little did Benassi know that her trip to Wuhan will bring her a lot of headache. YouTuber and self-professed conspiracy theorist George Webb, 59 years old, posted a series of false accusations that Benassi brought a biochemical weapon containing the coronavirus to Wuhan last year.
“It’s like waking up from a bad dream going into a nightmare day after day,” Benassi said in an exclusive interview with CNN Business.
Webb’s video raked hundreds of thousands views from different countries – including the US and even China. Some Chinese social media users later embraced Webb’s false conspiracy theory as truthful and they started uploading the Mandarin-translated video over popular platforms in the country, such as, Weibo, Wechat, and Xigua.
Despite never having tested positive of COVID-19, Benassi and her husband, Matt became subjects of discussion over Chinese social media about the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Benassi couple became a target of online harassment and threats.
“I want everybody to stop harassing me, because this is cyberbullying to me and it’s gone way out of hand,” Maajte said as she fights back in tears.
Matt has tried to get the videos taken down from YouTube to prevent the false accusations from spreading online. But before YouTube erased the videos, the false accusations already went viral.
“The damage is done,” Matt said, and worse, he added that Webb’s videos have been re-uploaded on the video-sharing site.
Webb’s False Accusation Against Maatje Benasi:
Without any proof, Webb claimed that the United States government brought a biological weapon containing the virus to Wuhan. A Chinese official later used Webb’s baseless accusations and publicly declared that the U.S. military indeed brought the virus to China.
U.S. Defense secretary Mark Esper slammed the Chinese official’s words saying that a prominent official supporting a baseless theory is “completely ridiculous and irresponsible”.
In March, Webb tagged Maatje Benassi as the one who brought the said biochemical weapon. There were hundreds of U.S. military athletes who came to compete in the Wuhan-hosted sports event but Webb picked Benassi to be the subject of this theories.
Webb even accused that Italian DJ Benny Benassi, the artist behind the 2002 hit song “Satisfaction”, had coronavirus and that he, along with Maatje and Matt, were part of the “Benassi plot.”
In a news report, CNN interviewed the famous DJ and denied such accusations. He even said that he has never met the couple Maatje and Matt and that they aren’t related.
The DJ likewise pointed out that the surname Benassi is very common family name in Italy. He also clarified that he never contracted COVID-19.
Who is George Webb?
Webb, who has numerous followers on YouTube, is a known American misinformation peddler.
In 2017, CNN exposed Webb as part of a “trio conspiracy theorists” who were telling false narratives about a cargo ship carrying a “dirty bomb” scheduled to arrive at the Charleston Port in South Carolina. The claim resulted in the shutdown of the said port.
“Law enforcement will tell you that there’s nothing that we can do about it because we have free speech in this country,” Matt lamented.
He added that many have suggested seeking legal help but they know that comes with expensive fees.
35 funny tweets that sum up the struggles of parenting
“Only have kids if you REALLY want to watch someone do a spin 10,000 times.”
Have you ever been in a situation when you must feel angry but all you can do is pause, smile, frown a little, act funny, or walk away? That is parenting.
Man To Visit Florida In Grim Reaper Costume As Beaches Reopen “Prematurely”
He hopes to remind beachgoers to stay home instead.
- As Florida confirms reopening its beaches to the public soon, lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder plans to visit in full Grim Reaper costume.
- According to him, he hopes the stunt will remind people about social distancing and staying home.
- Governor Ron DeSantis claims Florida has already "flattened the curve."
93-Year-Old Woman Gets Her Wish After Holding Up “I Need Beer” Sign
Her viral photo reached the beer manufacturer. And so they gave her 10 cases of beer!
- Already 93 years of age, Olive Veronesi still has the habit of drinking a can of beer every night.
- Now on self-quarantine, she’s down to her last 12 cans when she held a sign that said “I need more beer!”
- A relative took her picture and it went viral online, prompting brewing company Molson Coors to gift her 10 cases.
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