Stanford University is distancing itself from controversial radiologist and White House COVID-19 advisor Scott Atlas, while others are demanding his firing.
Earlier this week, the Hoover Institution fellow was accused of trying to incite violence for urging Michigan residents to “rise up” against coronavirus restrictions. Asked to comment on those recent statements, the California-based private university issued a statement on Monday. Atlas has previously drawn criticism for speaking out against mask mandates, championing a “heard immunity” approach that allows the virus to spread, and bashing task force colleagues.
“Stanford’s position on managing the pandemic in our community is clear. We support using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing. We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities,” the school said Nov. 16. “Dr. Atlas has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic,” it added, noting that previous statements “reflect his personal views, not those of the Hoover Institution or the university.”
Meanwhile, others such as the Washington Post are calling for Atlas’ firing, labeling his Michigan comments “appallingly ignorant” and “breathtakingly foolish” in an editorial published Monday. And the original Stanford tweet sharing its statement had garnered thousands of comments Thursday, with a handful echoing the newspaper’s calls for his dismissal. The San Francisco Chronicle further condemned those remarks Thursday while also criticizing Stanford for its “insipid and spineless” response.
“A sort of anti-Anthony Fauci, Atlas lends a patina of expertise to the administration’s determination to let the virus run rampant, guiding our national non-policy on the pandemic based on his extensive training as a (checks notes) radiologist,” the Chronicle Editorial Board wrote.
For his part, Atlas clarified that he did not intend to incite violence, only to encourage Americans to vote and “peacefully protest.” He emphasized that he agrees with the importance of hosting activities outside, social distancing and protecting high-risk individuals. However, he is concerned about the effects of lockdowns and school closures on mental health, Atlas told Fox News.