Was Jamie Foxx left “partially paralyzed and blind” after a stroke in April? That’s the wholly unsubstantiated claim now being floated by a gossip columnist who appeared on longtime reality TV host Dr. Drew’s online talk show this week to link Foxx’s mysterious medical emergency to the COVID vaccine he was allegedly “forced” to get.
Foxx’s reps and family have remained largely silent on details surrounding his health scare, with his family calling it a “medical complication” after he was hospitalized on April 11.
In mid-May, the 55-year-old actor’s daughter, Corinne Foxx, released a vague but upbeat statement on the situation, saying that he’d been “out of the hospital for weeks” and “playing pickleball.”
Conspiracy theorists were quick to move into that information vacuum, speculating about Foxx’s condition amid reports of bizarre behavior prior to his hospitalization, including a “meltdown” he’d allegedly had while shooting the Netflix film Back in Action in Atlanta.
Foxx’s name didn’t trend on Twitter again, though, until A.J. Benza—a former New York Daily News columnist and host of the Fame Is a Bitch podcast—appeared on Ask Dr. Drew Tuesday.
“It’s all lies,” Benza insisted of the information trickling out of Foxx’s camp. He said he had an unidentified source “in the room” who’d told him Foxx had developed a blood clot “in his brain after he got the shot.”
Later, he said his “man in the room” had told him that the blood clot had left Foxx “partially paralyzed and blind.”
Benza was quick to link Foxx’s alleged stroke to the COVID-19 vaccine. “He did not want the shot, but the movie he was in,” he said, referring to Back in Action, “he was pressured to get it.” Baselessly, he went on to theorize that the vaccine was the reason Foxx “blew up” on the Atlanta set a week before his crisis.
The rumor was quickly seized on and amplified by right-wing figures like Charlie Kirk, who railed against Hollywood’s “cash cow clot shot” mandates, and pro-MAGA rapper Bryson Gray, who tweeted, “Shame on EVERYONE that called it safe and effective.”
There is currently no evidence to suggest a causal link between COVID-19 vaccines or boosters and the risk of stroke. A nationwide study of more than 4.1 million people conducted earlier this year failed to find a higher rate of stroke a month after vaccination, regardless of type or combination of vaccines received. Another study from 2022 found that the prevalence of stroke among vaccinated patients was roughly the same as in the general population.
In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said that their surveillance system had flagged a possible preliminary link between Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and risk of strokes in older people, but noted that the signal was “very unlikely” to represent a “true clinical risk.” Both agencies said they would continue to recommend the vaccine.
Despite Benza’s insistence, it remains unclear whether Foxx suffered a stroke, but—just days after the “pickleball” statement—his family was spotted visiting him at a Chicago physical rehab facility known for specializing in stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and cancer recovery.
That same week, in an appearance on a podcast, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson appeared to accidentally let slip that he had heard that Foxx had had some kind of stroke. He almost immediately walked it back, saying, “I have no idea what happened to him.”
A representative for Foxx did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
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