International Law lecturer Amy Benjamin resigned (opens new window) from Auckland University of Technology last week. We spoke about Amy back in August; she made the news at the beginning of our second national lockdown, when she started up her YouTube channel called "American Spirit" where she posted videos about COVID and lockdowns. Her opinions seemed somewhat fringe, and she talked about how the threat to people’s mental health in lockdown was worse than that of COVID, that Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine could treat COVID, and that the government had criminalised peaceful protest. None of this is true.
In the weeks after we talked about her, I continued to watch her videos, along with her efforts to avoid the YouTube filters. She used letters as a code, calling COVID "C", the vaccine "V" and lockdowns "L" - but kept slipping up and forgetting to use her secret code. YouTube ended up taking down her videos as quickly as she could post them, presumably due to people making complaints about their misleading content - in fact, I’m pretty sure at one point the videos were disappearing more quickly than they were being posted, and the overall number of videos she had on the site was decreasing despite the fact she was frequently posting new ones.
She tried, as many people with dangerous views do, moving to other platforms where protections are absent - Odysee, Rumble, Telegram. But her channel on YouTube had only just been started, with very few subscribers, and I can’t imagine many of them followed her to a much more obscure video hosting platform.
From what the media has been saying on the back of her resignation, Amy Benjamin continued to slide down the rabbit hole, claiming on Vinny Eastwood’s show (opens new window) recently that COVID is a hoax and that the Christchurch attack of 2019 was a "false flag" operation.
"Christchurch was such an obvious false flag… I think that will be revealed in due course. I don’t think this is going to go on forever, I think Christchurch will be revealed eventually."
The Spinoff said (opens new window) that Amy resigned from AUT soon after they contacted the University about her claims. Although she may have technically "resigned", it sounds like she may not have had much choice in the matter; I wonder whether resigning was one of two options the university gave Amy. Whatever the cause, it’s nice to think that someone with such extreme, conspiratorial views will no longer be teaching the next generation of lawyers.