Pfizer's Celebrity Endorsement Deal Goes Horribly Wrong


Every corporation worth its salt needs a celebrity spokesman — and Pfizer is no different.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras seem to have failed the trial run with their Satan-tastic performance at last week’s Grammys — brought to you by Pfizer! — so who next?

How about a combative, hard-left, Democrat-boosting singer who hasn’t been culturally relevant in some time? Sounds good. So meet the new celebrity endorser of the COVID-19 jab, R&B singer John Legend.

It went over so well that Pfizer was forced to turn off comments on a Tuesday post — and it got worse from there.

“For John Legend, there is nothing better than being a dad and enjoying special moments with his family,” read Pfizer’s tweet with Legend’s short endorsement video.

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“That’s why he considers his health a top priority and why he got an updated #COVID19 booster. His eligible family members got theirs too!”

“OK, I know I’m talking to every parent out there,” Legend says in the video. “Life with little kids can be a juggling act. Luna’s got dance. Miles has basketball. Plus, they both have school and their own personalities. And now we’ve got a new baby in the house.

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“But I wouldn’t trade being a dad for anything in the world. I love being there for my special moments with my kids.

“That’s why my health is such a priority to me — and why I got an updated COVID-19 booster. My family did, too. I encourage you to talk to your health care provider and go to”

So, for starters, there’s a good reason the “So High” and “Ordinary People” singer might not be the best person to be advertising the jab.

Legend has been a locus of COVID fear-mongering, even stepping into outright disinformation at times.

In 2020, he made news by excoriating church leaders holding in-person Easter services during the early days of the pandemic, tweeting, “Don’t let these pastors kill your auntie or grandparent.”

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That May, Legend and his wife, model and social media troll Chrissy Teigen, gave an interview to the British edition of GQ in which he said “we have the highest death rate in the world from this disease” and blamed then-President Donald Trump. The U.S. didn’t have the highest death rate in the world at that point, you may not be surprised to know, instead ranking eighth. But details, details.

And then there were his 2019 remarks about Trump. “Donald Trump is an evil f***ing canker sore on America’s whole landscape,” Legend said in an interview. “He’s a piece of s*** … He says piece of s*** s*** all the time — that’s what he does. We need to get him out of office.”

I’m not saying endorsers can’t have a political point of view (or a vocabulary that apparently requires frequent asterisks, especially for a self-described family man), but given the contentious nature of perpetual boosters to keep fighting a perpetual pandemic — and the fact people’s beliefs on the matter tend to hew toward certain political demographics — this was going to do anything but convince the unconvinced.

Perhaps that’s why comments were turned off on the Legend endorsement tweet — but quote-tweets certainly weren’t, and they didn’t exactly bode well for the efficacy of this campaign.

Mind you, this isn’t cherry-picking the quote-tweets. In fact, the best comment I came across during a desultory scan was the one where the quote-tweeter said “John Legend is very famous and well-respected.” Yeah, in 2009.

But the fact that Pfizer now feels the need to bring out celebrity endorsers proves a point.

According to Worldometer, as of Friday morning, there have been 104,918,830 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States since the pandemic began. There have likely been many more that were either unreported or asymptomatic.

Meanwhile, Our World in Data reports that more than 670 million doses of vaccines and boosters have been given in this country as of Feb. 6 — although only 5 million of those have been given since the beginning of 2023, and that number has been plateauing for quite some time.

What we can draw from the data is this: A wide swath of the American public has gotten COVID, and a similarly wide swath has gotten vaccinated. Many have gotten boosted — although that number seems to be dropping because people are making their own decisions regarding the risk-benefit analysis of a perpetual regimen of shots delivered to us courtesy of Big Pharma.

So Big Pharma is bringing out the big guns … in the form of John Legend. Wowee. That’ll juice those booster numbers. Maybe if he cosplayed as the devil he could have gotten some attention.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture