A few days after Phil Valentine announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 on July 11th, the conservative talk-radio host wrote on Facebook that he was “doing my patriotic duty for natural herd immunity.” Valentine, whose nationally syndicated Phil Valentine Show aired on 100 stations from 2007 to 2019, had questioned the vaccines on his current show on Nashville’s SuperTalk 99.7 WTN and online, mocking the U.S.’s inoculation campaign in the song “Vaxman,” a parody of the Beatles’ “Taxman.” “I certainly am not getting the vax now,” he replied to a commenter on Facebook on July 14th. “I have full immunity.”
Valentine died Saturday from complications related to Covid-19, according to a tweet from his station. He was 61.
Valentine’s condition steadily worsened since announcing his diagnosis. Two weeks into hospitalization, he was placed on a ventilator and, on July 30th, his brother Mark Valentine said he was going to be transferred to an ECMO machine, which does the work of the heart and lungs.
“You need to have a plan in case you get COVID. Make SURE you get your vitamin D3 level checked… And then have a doctor on speed dial who will write you a prescription for ivermectin,” Phil Valentine wrote on Facebook on July 13th, recommending an unproven drug used to treat livestock for worms. “If you’re high risk of dying from COVID I still strongly suggest you consider the vaccine, but this it totally your choice. Just make sure you’re prepared if you decide against the vaccine.”
After Valentine’s syndication deal ended, he signed a three-year contract with Nashville’s WTN to continue his show on the local level. In addition to his radio career, Valentine wrote, produced and hosted the 2012 documentary An Inconsistent Truth, a rebuttal to Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film about climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. Valentine also released the book The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Positions From A to Z in 2016 and authored a series of spy novels.
“If you don’t like me coming ‘round/be thankful I don’t hold you down,” he sang in the vaccine parody song “Vaxman.”
“He wishes he could do it over,” Valentine’s brother Mark told Nashville public radio station WPLN in a July interview. “His regret [was] ‘I made the decision [not to get vaccinated] based on my situation, but I know now that a lot of people didn’t get the vaccine because I didn’t get the vaccine. And that is what I would like to correct.’”
Just under 41 percent of Tennessee’s population is fully vaccinated.