Dr Demetre Daskalakis at a monkeypox briefing (L) and posing shirtless (R). (Getty/Instagram)
Right-wing trolls are mocking a gay monkeypox doctor because he’s hot and has dared to wear a harness.
Dr Demetre Daskalakis, one of the White House’s most senior figures appointed to respond to the monkeypox outbreak, has faced smears from right-wing media outlets and Twitter trolls because he wears harnesses and has posted shirtless pictures of himself on Instagram.
Daskalakis has even been labelled a satanist – yes, really.
In one article published by the Daily Caller, a Conservative news website, Daskalakis was criticised for what the reporter said were “unorthodox tactics” to get LGBTQ+ people to test for HIV and other STIs.
The Caller drew attention to the many lengths Daskalakis has gone to in his efforts to get people tested for STIs, such as operating a HIV and hepatitis screening clinic in an S&M club.
The publication also noted his tendency to wear “suggestive clothing” and pointed out that he has dressed in drag to deliver meningitis vaccines – because apparently that’s a bad thing.
Monkeypox expert Demetre Daskalakis has been accused of being a satanist
The conversation quickly migrated over to Twitter, where one social media user claimed Daskalakis was a “satanist” because he wore a harness that had a pentacle design.
This is Biden’s WH monkeypox coordinator, Demetre Daskalakis… no I’m not making this up. pic.twitter.com/Qqes014en0
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 7, 2022
Thankfully, there’s been plenty of good sense in the mix too, with many taking to Twitter to share their frustration at seeing Daskalakis dogpiled with barbed messages about his fashion choices and his sexuality.
The fascists are targeting White House Deputy Monkeypox Coordinator @Dr_Demetre Daskalakis bc he’s gay – and bc he’s competent. The #MPV outreach strategy he’s leading? It’s working; the fascists hate that.@Dr_Demetre is one of the best public health appointments @POTUS made pic.twitter.com/r9W3Ml2gS0
— Matthew Cortland 🇮🇪 (@mattbc) September 9, 2022
Demetre Daskalakis’s out-loud-and-proud persona has allowed him to connect better with the public he serves. He is highly regarded in the public health world, not despite his persona but in part because of it. #monkeypox
— Benjamin Ryan (@benryanwriter) September 8, 2022
2012 Harvard School of Public Health Boston, MA Masters of Public Health
1999 NYU School of Medicine New York, NY Medical Doctor
1995 Columbia University New York, NY Bachelor of Arts
Yeah, he sounds really unqualified! 😀 https://t.co/1fNfWRRzvx
— Dean (@QuidProQuoTwo) September 7, 2022
Speaking to The Advocate about the furore, Daskalakis said: “I am certainly not a satanist.”
When asked why people think he is, Daskalakis replied: “It’s because I wear high-fashion harnesses by Zana Bayne.”
The online discourse has gotten so bad that Daskalakis has had to put his Instagram account on private because right-wing trolls kept stealing his personal photographs in their desperate efforts to prove he shouldn’t be trusted.
Regardless of what people are saying on social media, Daskalakis is keeping calm and carrying on with his work.
“My primary responsibility is doing right by the LGBTQIA+ community and to make sure that there is a higher level of coordination on all fronts moving in the right direction,” he told The Advocate.