A subreddit gives the "Herman Cain Award" to anti-vaxxers who die of Covid

Nearly 300,000 Redditors are in the r/HermanCainAward subreddit, and it's still growing rapidly. In it, Redditors posts story after story of Covid deaths, and the subreddit serves as a grim reminder of the virus's continuing dangers. ward subreddit, and it's still growing rapidly. The name derives from Republican fast-food giant Herman Cain who died of Covid some weeks after attending a Trump rally maskless in the summer of 2020.

The subreddit's posts, for the most part, follow a predictable format: first, photos and screenshots show a person's egregiously irresponsible Covid behavior. Then, the post has evidence of a person contracting and struggling with the virus. The stories of the Covid deaths come from Facebook screenshots or personal stories, and they show a close-up picture of what having the disease is like. One notable feature of the subreddit is the flairs: a hospitalized person's flair is "nominated." If they die, it changes to "awarded." Here's the community description:

Nominees have made public declaration of their anti-mask, anti-vax, or Covid-hoax views, followed by admission to hospital for Covid. The Award is granted upon the nominee's release from their Earthly shackles.


While the Herman Cain Award brings attention to the importance of Covid safety, it may wade into the dangerous territory of mocking those who die of Covid. A rule of the subreddit is "Don't be a dick. Don't root for nominees to be awarded." Still, some posts and comments may contain elements of schadenfreude.

The good news is that it's pretty easy to make sure you won't win a Herman Cain Award. Get vaccinated and wear a mask in public spaces, unless you'd like to be presented with one of these upon your death.

Gita Jackson for Vice