Former nurse Kate Shemirani is in hot water after giving a highly controversial speech at a recent anti-lockdown rally in the United Kingdom, during which she compared doctors giving out the COVID-19 vaccine to Nazi doctors that were later hanged for their crimes.
Her critics say the speech was a reckless call for violence against healthcare providers, but Shemirani refuses to admit she did anything wrong. Many prominent leaders and politicians are now calling for a criminal investigation into her actions.
Penalized for Misinformation
Shemirani, a mother of four, has emerged as one of the UK’s most vocal conspiracy theorists. She has been banned from practicing for allegedly promoting misinformation about the pandemic. She has made several incendiary comments about the country’s response to the coronavirus, often invoking words associated with the Holocaust.
In one earlier post, she criticized providers giving out the COVID-19 vaccine, writing, “You are not nurses. You are not angels. You are criminals and liars…Patients all with DNRs on arrival. Patient and relatives unaware. Murdered. Genocide.”
She also posted, “The NHS is the new Auschwitz. 4th generation warfare. Silent weapons for quiet wars. You are the target.”
The UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register banned her from practicing nursing for 18 months in July 2020, but the NMC Fitness to Practise Committee later issued her a permanent striking-off order, which means she can’t practice as a registered nurse for at least five years, after which she will be able to appeal the decision.
The council found that Shemirani had “abused her position of trust” as a healthcare provider by promoting false claims. “She is using her status as a registered nurse to portray herself as someone who has more specialist knowledge than the average member of the public, and she is using this to promote misinformation,” the decision reads.
They added that her posts on social media and public speeches “could have serious consequences for those who listen to her damaging and distorted messages.”
A Potential Call for Violence
Things quickly escalated when Shemirani appeared at an anti-lockdown rally in Trafalgar Square in London over the weekend. She told her listeners to “get the names” of people administering the vaccines and email them to her.
She went on to say, “With a group of lawyers, we are collating all that. At the Nuremberg trials, the doctors and nurses stood trial and they hung. If you’re a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus. Get off it and stand with us, the people – all around the world they are rising.”
During the rally, Shemirani appeared with several other notable conspiracy theorists, including David Icke, Piers Corbyn, and far-right activist Katie Hopkins, all of which have been heavily criticized for their views on the pandemic. Her speech has since been circulated widely on social media.
The Royal College of Nursing called her latest comments “reprehensible” and said they could put staff at risk. The British Medical Association said her speech warrants added protection for healthcare workers, so they don’t have to suffer such “appalling abuse.”
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, confirmed he discussed the former nurse’s “appalling” speech with the police and called NHS staff the “heroes of the pandemic.”
A spokesman for Scotland Yard, the country’s national police force, added, “We are aware of video circulating online showing a speech that occurred during a rally in Trafalgar Square. Officers are carrying out enquiries to establish whether any offences have been committed. No arrests have been made.”
Shemirani quickly defended herself. She wrote, “It’s being stated that I called for the nurses and doctors of the NHS to hang, which is simply not true. It’s a case of Chinese whispers…I gave a very informative speech,” using the anonymous messaging app Telegram.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Her son, Sebastian Shemirani, has also called for the ex-nurse to be prosecuted. He said his mother is “beyond help” due to her extreme views.
“She should be prosecuted under existing laws or if there aren’t existing laws in place that say that what she’s doing is illegal, then we should be having a national conversation about what laws we should be bringing in,” he told a local radio outlet.
“It’s only a matter of time before somebody acts on the bad advice that she’s giving the country,” he added, while detailing his mother’s descent into “medical madness”.
Shemirani’s son said she was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, which led her on a search for alternative medical treatments. That’s when she started exploring “global conspiracies” that “make people less healthy,” he said.
He added that Shemirani’s views go beyond conspiracy theories, calling this the “apex” of her beliefs about vaccines. “She no longer believes it’s a shadowy group of billionaires that is orchestrating this, but she believes it’s actually the devil himself. And I’m not joking,” Sebastian Shemirani said.
Her son, now 22, said he first walked out on his mother when he was 17. He last saw her two months ago, but “When I look into her eyes…she’s not the same person,” he added.
Sebastian also accused his mother of being “narcissistic” with “a bit of a god complex” and that she “genuinely believes her destiny is to fight this battle.”
“I want her removed from the public sphere in whatever way is going to protect people,” he said.
Shemirani may be banned from practicing medicine, but she will likely continue spreading her views until the authorities intervene.