Eric Clapton has sparked outrage online after claiming people who have had the Covid vaccine are victims of “mass formation hypnosis”, during a recent interview.
The 76-year-old rocker previously claimed he suffered “disastrous” side effects allegedly due to the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying his hands and feet were “either frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless” and he feared he “would never play [the guitar] again.”
He also released an anti-lockdown single, “Stand and Deliver”, with Van Morrison in 2020.
Speaking to The Real Music Observer in an interview uploaded to their YouTube channel on 21 January, Clapton said he was feeling pretty good nine months after getting “sick with the thing [vaccine].”
On the subject of the vaccines, Clapton told the interviewer he didn’t get the “memo” – or information about “mass formation hypnoses” which began circulating among anti-vaxxers last year – when he received his vaccination.
“Then I started to realise there was really a memo, and a guy, Mattias Desmet [professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium], talked about it,” Clapton continued. “And it’s great. The theory of mass formation hypnosis. And I could see it then.”
“Once I kind of started to look for it, I saw it everywhere,” he claimed, recalling “seeing little things on YouTube which were like subliminal advertising.”
Social media users criticised Clapton’s comments, with multiple fans unflatteringly comparing him to fellow musician Neil Young, who recently took a strong stance against vaccine misinformation.
In a now-deleted letter posted on Young’s website on Monday (24 January), the 76-year-old singer wrote that he does not appreciate Spotify’s affiliation with Rogan and his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, which is spreading “false information” regarding Covid-19 vaccines.
Addressing his management team at LookoutManagement and Warner Bros, Young wrote: “Please immediately inform Spotify that I am actively canceling all my music availability on Spotify as soon as possible.”
Reacting to Clapton’s vaccine claims, Twitter user Frank Köhntopp tweeted: “Always be yourself, unless you can be Eric Clapton. Then be Neil Young.”
“Eric Clapton is not God,” another user wrote on the social media platform, in response to Clapton’s comments.
Comedian and actor John Fugelsang tweeted: “Somebody please tell Eric Clapton that the hospital ICUs are filled with un-hypnotised people.”
Author Glen Macnow said: “Every time I see Eric Clapton trending, I cringe. When virologists and epidemiologists start playing a killer version of “Layla,” I’ll start listening to Clapton on science.”
During the interview, Clapton also explained why he began speaking out against Covid-safety measures – like nationwide lockdowns imposed at various times in the UK – in the first place.
“The point when I spoke out, it had been almost 18 months since I’d kind of forcibly been retired,” Clapton said, referring to the restrictions that shut down live events across the UK.
Explaining he had received a “tip that Van [Morrison] was standing up to the measures”, Clapton said he was confused about why no one else was “objecting” to them.
When he asked Morrison how he could help, Clapton said his fellow musician sent him the anti-lockdown track “Stand and Deliver” ahead of its release. However, he added, during the process of “talking about [it] to another musician, getting excited and then sharing that news” that Clapton found “nobody wanted to hear that.”
“I was mystified, I seemed to be the only person that found it exciting or even appropriate. I’m cut from a cloth where if you tell me I can’t do something, I really want to know why, and it seemed like I had had a wall built around me,” he continued.