Never one to avoid controversy, the singer tweeted last night an offensive conspiracy theory about Ebola, the deadly virus that has killed more than 4,000 people. Take it away, Brown:
Rather than use his platform for a compassionate response to a terrible, ongoing tragedy, Brown decided to flame the anxieties of his nearly 14 million followers with garbage about Ebola being used to thin out the world's rising population.
Why it matters. As idiotic as his tweets are, Brown is complicit is spreading a dangerous meme about Ebola. Since the first Ebola case in the United States last month, the media's been in full panic mode over the disease, even if it's incredibly difficult to contract in the U.S.
As Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo notes, a groundswell of truthers think there's more to this story. The problem, Marshall says, is trifold: "It's hard for me to tell whether this is simply lying about what various officials, including the president, have said, ignorance of how contagious diseases (and particularly Ebola) work or just a blase willingness to fan hysteria."
Brown is a celebrity and can say whatever he wants, but his stardom comes with responsibility. Let's hope he chooses to add something productive next time.