Emerald Robinson—the White House correspondent for the far-right disinformation outlet, Newsmax—stunned Twitter users earlier this week after she falsely claimed the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines contained a component called "LUCIFERASE" which she suggested was a satanic "marker" designed for tracking.
In reality, Luciferase is a naturally occurring light-producing enzyme discovered by French pharmacologist Raphaël Dubois in the late 19th century. Though evangelicals like Robinson often associate the name "Lucifer" with Satan, luciferase is named for the Latin words "lux" or "luc-," meaning light and "fer," meaning bringer, so the name for the bioluminescent material translates to "bringer of light."
Before Twitter removed Robinson's tweet from the site, users screen shotted it and shared it widely.
Robinson has now been suspended from Twitter for the next week after spreading dangerous disinformation regarding the vaccines, but that isn't the end of the problems stemming from her bogus claim.
Robinson's own network disputed her claims as well, with Newsmax's executive vice president Elliot Jacobson told The Hill:
"We have seen no evidence to suggest LUCIFERASE or LUCIFERIN are present in any vaccines or that they are used as any sort bioluminescent marker."
A separate statement attributed to the network said:
"Such false claims have never been reported on Newsmax."
Newsmax later announced that Robinson would be "fulfilling her duties for the network" but would remain off the air for the time being.
Twitter users were amazed at how unhinged claims must be in order to get refuted by Newsmax.
They also noted that Newsmax's content isn't much less deranged than Robinson's Twitter screeds.
Some speculated Newsmax was only fact-checking Robinson because it got backlash.
It's unclear when Robinson will return on the air.