Mike Schultz, a gay nurse who received more than $20,000 in donations to cover his COVID-19 medical costs, has been dragged into the ongoing “gay civil war” sparked by a gay Mexican party boat sinking.
In May 2020, before-and-after-COVID images of Schultz shocked the world.
Pre-illness, he was a solidly-built 190 pounds of toned muscle. After contracting coronavirus, likely at a now-notorious Miami Beach winter party super-spreader, he was down to 140 pounds, rake-thin and gaunt in the face.
Schultz spent six weeks on a ventilator and received generous donations to help cover his medical costs. In an interview, he said he was sharing his experience to raise awareness and “to show it can happen to anyone”.
Eight months on, and Schultz’s name is once again spiking on social media, and not for any good reason.
After a number of circuit parties took place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, around New Year’s Eve, despite soaring caseloads in the country and globally, outrage has been directed at the gay (mostly white) men who ignored the pandemic to party.
Instagram whistleblower GaysOverCovid – quietly active since the summer – burst into action after a gay Mexican party boat was pictured sinking into the water, identifying and shaming those who flocked to Puerto Vallarta and elsewhere.
It’s sparked what Twitter user Zack Ford dubbed a “gay civil war”, dividing the community into those applauding the account for exposing what they see as irresponsible, selfish behaviour, and those outraged at the invasion of privacy and judgement.
According to screenshots of his now-missing Instagram page, Schultz has planted his flag in the against-GaysOverCovid camp, and is supporting efforts to out the person behind the account.
“I may have a lead. Stay tuned,” reads a message apparently by Schultz, published by Instinct Magazine.
Other images widely shared on social media, reportedly from Schultz’s Instagram, include a selfie with the caption: “Less than three weeks to PV. Can’t wait!”
Another appears to show the nurse adding clapping hand emojis in support of a message attacking “f**king bitter queens… always tearing down other gays”.
There’s no evidence that Schultz attended any of the Puerto Vallarta parties himself, however many were quick to condemn him.
Before his Instagram page was made unavailable, Schultz had stated: “Cyberbullying will not be tolerated and will be reported.”
“This isn’t bullying,” said one user. “He’s a nurse, then he should know better.”
“He really didn’t learn anything, eh?” chimed another.