Stephen Carpenter apologises for the “insensitive” way he stated his flat Earth, anti-vaccination views

His original comments disputed the dangers of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of masks.

Stephen Carpenter

Image: Miikka Skaffari / Getty

Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter caused a stir last week when he stated: “If you think you live on a spinning, flying space ball, you’re in a cult.” Alongside his belief in a flat earth, he also asserted that he thought there has “never been one single vaccine that’s ever worked, ever”, and that the current global pandemic is a work of “mental trickery.”

He has since addressed the backlash to his comments with his appearance on The Dr Greenthumb Podcast, where he apologised for the way he presented his opinions. He asserted that he only wanted to “inspire” people to take an “alternative perspective” – and he shared his views from a place of love.

“In regards to this story, you know, I want to say this, I made some people… you know, people got a little aggravated [and] feel like I was insensitive,” he said. “I want to say, hey you know, I never had the intent to upset anybody in any way with my opinions. But I was just giving my opinions. And for all those who’ve experienced it in any way, it’s not to upset or offend you in any way with my opinion. But I did you know, and some were… they were ruffled.

“So I say to all you who were ruffled about in any way, you know, it’s only love you know, it’s always about love. I would never want to see anybody… In fact, that’s the reason why I give my opinion. Hopefully it can inspire you into something else, you know, at least for an alternative perspective. But not to offend you know, all my love, sorry. Apologies.”

While Carpenter apologised for the way he presented his views, it seems he stopped short of addressing the theories themselves. Safe to say, a guitar magazine probably shouldn’t be where you get this information – but science’s general consensus is the earth is not flat and vaccines do indeed prevent certain diseases.

Carpenter’s own views on the shape of the earth may be harmless in and of themselves – aside from stopping the phrase “around the globe” from appearing in any future Deftones tour announcements. The backlash didn’t ignore this aspect of his initial comments, but a more serious issue was taken with the dangers of downplaying both the impact of a pandemic and the effectiveness of vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed anti-vaccine views as one of the top-ten health threats the world faced in 2019, and since the beginning of the current pandemic news outlets and social media platforms have had to crack down hard on coronavirus-related fake news.

Others noted the sheer number of conspiracy theories touted by Carpenter – aside from the most controversial, he also discussed the non-existence of both nuclear weaponry and space itself. Spin described his comments as “lunacy”, and “like drinking out of a YouTube-based firehose.”

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