Over the last several decades, Dr. Christiane Northrup has built a career as a major player in women's alternative healthcare and healthcare advocacy. Johnathan Jarry of McGill University describes Dr. Northrup's early career:
An obstetrician-gynecologist by training, Northrup rose to fame as a New York Times bestselling author of books like Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause. She was platformed by Oprah Winfrey on many occasions and was named by Reader's Digest in 2013 as one of the 100 most trusted people in America.
According to the Conspirituality Podcast Episode 7: Doctoring COVID: Christiane Northrup's Great Truther Awakening, during her career,
She has persuasively argued for lower-intervention childbirth, an end to circumcision, and policies that place family unity at the heart of health care. She's known and loved for challenging her medical training with faith-based values and an intuition framed as feminine (if not feminist) and "sovereign." Northrup draws on astrology, feng shui, chakra theory, and "vibrational" healing as modes of resistance to what she sees as medical patriarchy.
Toward the beginning of the first year of the pandemic, in early Spring 2020, Northrup began her "Great Awakening" that quickly catapulted her to the status of one of the most famous and influential COVID "truthers" and spreaders of COVID misinformation. She currently has 563,000 followers on Facebook, 116,000 followers on Twitter, 80,000 YouTube subscribers, and 78,000 subscribers on Telegram. She sells books, herbs, and other wellness products on her website and hosts keynotes and workshops on a variety of topics, including "Dodging Energy Vampires," "Making Life Easy," "The Wisdom of Menopause," and "Goddesses Never Age." Conspirituality Podcast Episode 7: Doctoring COVID: Christiane Northrup's Great Truther Awakening (July 9, 2020) explains that the resistance to the mainstream medical system that she had built her early career around
…began seamlessly intersecting with COVID trutherism in April (2020), when she started posting daily Facebook sermons to her half-million followers. The series is called "The Great Awakening" — a phrase first used to describe 18th-century American spiritual revival movements, but was recently co-opted by QAnon conspiracists to describe the inevitable triumph of Trump over the Deep State.
Northrup's sermons, combined with her posts of the debunked Plandemic docmentary, Tony Robbins interviewing anti-vaxxers, and a podcast with Andy Wakefield in which she called COVID a "flu" and expressed concern about Bill Gates taking over public education, give a rich glimpse into the seduction of conspirituality in the hands of a wellness matriarch.
Most recently, Northrup has strengthened her alignment with QAnon by posting a trailer for a follow-up to a key recruiting video. With up to a dozen QAnon supporters running for office in November, Northrup is positioned to nudge middle-class white wellness women with money into a cult that believes Trump is a messianic figure.
Johnathan Jarry of McGill University describes Northrup's dangerous and irresponsible views on the pandemic, which include advocating against both vaccines and masks, and calling into question whether COVID-19 is even real:
Her views on the COVID-19 pandemic, shaped by her mantra that "it doesn't make sense," are unscientific, reckless and asinine. Rarely have I witnessed such a smorgasbord of gobbledygook from someone who once had an active medical license. She does not believe vaccines are necessary if your body is healthy and has spread unsubstantiated fears about safe vaccines throughout her career. She has claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines will target specific chromosomes that act as the seat of our empathy, an utterly absurd and unscientific statement. She believes that artificial intelligence has somehow been incorporated into these vaccines (complete nonsense) and that this A.I. will integrate itself into our DNA. She warns her viewers that the injection of patented vaccines inside our body will turn us into the property of the patent holders. Funny how I have not heard her say the same for artificial heart valves, pacemakers and insulin pumps. But before you call her an anti-vaxxer, know that she believes the term is meaningless and that it was coined by Big Pharma. In the same breath, she declares that "conspiracy theorist" was a phrase invented by the CIA, which is apparently run out of China. She read about it, you see.
Northrup admits to having dozens of people over at her house during the pandemic for "peaceful protests" that are linked to two organizations she participates in, Make America Free Again and Millions Against Medical Mandates. She frequently invites her viewers to disobey the rules during the pandemic to show everyone that it's all a scam, and to stop watching mainstream media news because their broadcast contains a flicker meant to hypnotize you. She recommends pseudoscientists, health gurus, and discredited news sources like Joe Mercola, Andrew Wakefield, and InfoWars, all the while avoiding posting links to specific websites. As social media companies unevenly clamp down on misinformation, accessing contrarian sources online has been turned by Northrup into an Easter egg hunt that sets up a hero's journey for her fan base. Her videos are not unlike the Q drops of the QAnon movement: filled with somewhat vague references that make viewers want to complete a quest to become part of the inner circle.
Sam Kestenbaum, writing for The Washington Post, describes that Northup, along with eleven other public figures, were named the "disinformation dozen" in the spring of 2021 by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, as these figures were responsible for spreading and amplifying almost all of the anti-vaccine content circulating through social media and other online settings:
("The cost of allowing her to remain on these platforms has been paid for in the number of lives lost to covid-19," the group's director, Imran Ahmed, said.) The White House put pressure on social media companies to kick the "disinformation dozen" off their platforms. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, disputed the center's findings as overblown, but eventually stripped Northrup of her Instagram. In a podcast interview, Northrup said she lost access to PayPal and Venmo. She soon migrated to alternative social platforms, like Telegram, where her following has soared past 80,000. (Many of her Facebook videos were taken down, but her page, with 565,000 followers, remains. Her Twitter account, with 115,000 followers, is active.)
Her being censured has not stopped her from spreading misinformation and lies, however. Kestenbaum continues by describing how she continues to ramp up her lies and rhetoric about vaccines:
Meanwhile, an Oklahoma businessman named Clay Clark recruited Northrup for a roadshow organized to protest pandemic health orders. As part of these events, which tour mostly Pentecostal churches across the country, Northrup joined speakers including pillow salesman Mike Lindell and politico Roger Stone. Reached by phone, Clark said, "Dr. Christiane Northrup is on an unapologetic search for truth, and one of the only doctors I could find speaking out." Clark also shared footage of a recent tour stop in Arizona. In it, Northrup bounded onstage and said, "The covid shot is a murder weapon. There is no reason to take it," and watched as the crowd rose in applause.
Journalists Nathan Bernard and Andy O'Brien, in an article for Mainer, argue that it is difficult to measure just how much damaging Dr. Northrup's views have been to public health:
How many Warriors of the Radical Light have been infected with the coronavirus, and have then infected others, because they've taken Northrup's quack advice that social distancing and masks are harmful?
In addition to her dangerous COVID-19 views, Northrup has also been an advocate of far-right politics. She has embraced QAnon and believes, like fellow conspiritualist Lorie Ladd, that Donald Trump is a "massive and powerful lightworker." Nathan Bernard and Andy O'Brien argue that:
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Northrup's rhetoric became increasingly militant. She's called on county sheriffs to refuse to enforce state lockdowns and mask mandates. Invoking the language of the white supremacist group Posse Comitatus and the far-right Sovereign Citizen movement, Northrup believes sheriffs, by virtue of being elected, are the highest law-enforcement officers in the land, with the power to invoke the 10th Amendment against any measures they deem unconstitutional.
She was also an advocate of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. While she did not go to the event because she was "doing a cleaning fast—in a video afterward Northrup heralded the date as a 'fateful day of epiphany.'"
Two years since first discussing Dr. Northrup, in their most recent episode, Episode 108, Downeast with Christiane Northrup (June 16, 2022), the hosts and guests of the Conspirituality Podcast trace Northrup's trajectory over the last two years of the pandemic, and speculate about whether she is making the transition from online queen of the disinformation dozen, to real-life cult leader:
Half-a-million Facebook followers. Hundreds of videos in a series called "The Great Awakening." Christiane Northrup, the matriarch of New Age women's wellness, warns her followers about fake viruses, and tells them to avoid sex with their vaccinated partners. She stumps alongside QAnon celebrities, shovels campaign contributions to Trump, and dotes over sovereign citizen sheriffs. To ease your symptoms of ascension, she offers bath recipes of alfalfa greens and Dr. Bronner's soap. You can have a good soak and listen to her golden harp.
But in this nowhere world, where oh where is Christiane Northrup? Who is she? Is she flesh and blood, or a social media hologram generated by a Louise Hay AI? Is that mansion she broadcasts from a sound stage, or is there real soil and manure and flowers there? Our guests today know Northrup as super-real, because they live in her home state of Maine. Alyce Ornella, Andy O'Brien, and Mooncat have known her as a doctor, an MLM diva, antivax rabble rouser, and QAnon tour promoter.
Now, they tell us, another Northrup may be crystallizing on Maine's rocky shore, floating past the lighthouses and over the cranberry bogs on a cloud of essential oils. She's been seen haunting the blueberry patches, wearing a chunky necklace of lobster claws. As Northrup begins to hold revival meetings in Down East churches, and openly fantasize about murdering political enemies, they wonder if she is assuming her ultimate form—as an IRL cult leader.