On Tuesday, the world’s first COVID vaccinations took place in the UK, with British grandmother Margaret Keenan becoming the first person to get the jab. It was a touching and momentous occasion, perhaps even moving enough to make a person weep with joy.
Health secretary Matt Hancock thought so, anyway. While appearing on Good Morning Britain, he wiped away tears while watching footage of an 81-year-old named William Shakespeare (yes, that is his actual name) receiving the jab.
Except: not everyone convinced that Hancock’s crying was genuine, particularly since he started chuckling immediately afterwards and didn’t produce any noticeable tears. In fact, if you were feeling uncharitable, the footage does look rather a lot like someone pretending to cry, badly — but surely a Conservative MP would never attempt anything so insincere!
Rather than being received as an Upworthy-style piece of heartwarming news, Hancock’s crying game has been met with widespread mockery. One Twitter user wrote, in a tweet which has been shared 3,700 times, “Matt Hancock forgot the golden rule of pretending to cry on national television, which is to produce at least one discernible tear.”
The consensus seems to be that Hancock’s performance was unimpressive. People have compared the clip to staged footage from reality TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. Financial Times journalist Henry Mance tweeted, “I hope the vaccine is not reliant on Matt Hancock’s tears because he seems to be struggling to manufacture them.”
Not everyone was so cynical: letting the side down slightly, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham offered his sincere congratulations, failing to cast any aspersions of the veracity of Hancock’s emotions whatsoever. What a spoilsport.