(Warner Bros. Pictures)
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.The term “pureblood” doesn’t exactly have the best connotations. But now unvaccinated people on TikTok are, er, trying to reclaim the term as a way to tout their “superiority” over their jabbed fellow citizens.The phrase was popularized by J.K. Rowling’s villain Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series as a way to distinguish between those with “pure” wizard ancestry and everyone else, drawing parallels with the Nazi doctrine of the “master race.” As a concept, basically, it’s been used to justify some of the worst crimes against humanity in history.
The new “pureblood” trend seems to have gotten a big boost from conservative TikToker influencer Lyndsey Marie in a post shared last week replete with hashtags like #harrypotter, #pureblood, and #unvaccinated. “From now on, I refuse to be referred to as ‘unvaccinated,’” she declared. “I want everyone to now call me Pureblood.”The video has since racked up nearly 250,000 views and Lyndsey Marie is now promising her followers that a line of “pureblood” merch (which will feature an image of a lion and the text, “PUREBLOOD; Unmasked, Unvaxxed, Unafraid.”)Meanwhile, the term has inspired scores of other un-vaxxed social media users to make their own videos. Some have incorporated zombie-like filters, others have embellished their captions with the droplet of blood emoji, and one user, Leeannstar23, took the analogy a step further. “In like five, ten years, maybe less, all the people who are unvaccinated —we’re gonna be hunted,” she warns. “It’s gonna be like ‘Resident Evil.’ We’re gonna be the antidote, because everyone else is fucked, and we’re gonna be the only ones with pure blood.” On TikTok, the #pureblood hashtag may struggle to set itself apart from posts by Draco Malfoy stan accounts and others within that platform’s robust community of Harry Potter fans. But the term and hashtag has already migrated over onto other platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and gone international. This surge in unvaccinated pride comes as several high-profile anti-vaxxers have recently died from COVID-19. The recent death of a right-wing radio host in Colorado, who urged his listeners to boycott the COVID-19 jab, was publicized this week. Another right-wing shock jock in Florida, who dubbed himself “Mr. Anti Vax,” died a few weeks ago. A prominent anti-vaccine activist from Chicago also recently died from COVID-19 after she and a crowd of QAnon followers harassed the hospital to treat her with a bogus covid cure.Those deaths, and the overflowing hospitals in states with low vaccination rates, serve as a grim reminder that, unlike the Harry Potter universe, the threat of COVID-19 is very, very real.