U.S.|A radio host who scoffed at Covid, then urged his followers to get vaccinated, dies.
- Aug. 21, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET
Phil Valentine, a prominent conservative radio host in Tennessee who refused to get vaccinated, then urged his followers to get a shot after being hospitalized with Covid-19, has died, his station said on Saturday.
Mr. Valentine scoffed at the need for vaccines, writing on his blog that his chances of dying from the virus, should he become infected, were “way less than one percent.”
He announced his Covid-19 diagnosis on July 11 and pledged to return to his show within a day or two.
“Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it,” he wrote. “Interesting experience. I’ll have to fill you in when I come back on the air. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow, but I may take a day off just as a precaution.”
Less than two weeks later, his radio station, 99.7 WTN, announced that the Nashville host was hospitalized “in very serious condition, suffering from Covid pneumonia.” The statement said Mr. Valentine had had a change of heart and urged others to get a vaccine.
“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine,’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” the station said.
Some people responded to the announcement with words of support for Mr. Valentine, while others said he deserved to get sick.
On Saturday, the station announced on Twitter that Mr. Valentine had died, urging followers to “keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.”