World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claims he has received racist messages and death threats as he deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ghebreyesus shared his experience during a Wednesday, April 8 conference call with reporters, according to CNBC. His comments were in response to a question about the challenges of running WHO during a crisis while being critiqued by world leaders.
“I can tell you personal attacks that have been going on for more than two, three months. Abuses, or racist comments, giving me names, black or Negro. I’m proud of being black, proud of being Negro,” the native Ethiopian said. “I don’t care, to be honest … even death threats. I don’t give a damn.”
He claimed he has received racist attacks from Taiwan and criticized the nation’s government for spearheading a campaign against him.
“Three months ago, this attack came from Taiwan. We need to be honest. I will be straight today. From Taiwan,” Ghebreyesus said. “And Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry also, they know the campaign. They didn’t disassociate themselves. They even started criticizing me in the middle of all that insult and slur, but I didn’t care.”
The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied any wrongdoing and called Ghebreyesus’ comments “baseless.”
“Dr. Tedros’s unwarranted charges, made without any attempt at verification, are contrary to the facts and have caused serious damage to the government and people of Taiwan,” the ministry said in a statement. “Such slander is irresponsible, and the government of Taiwan demands that the Director-General immediately correct his trumped-up claims, issue a clarification, and apologize to the people of Taiwan.”
“Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine,” Ghebreyesus declared. “We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world using exactly the same rule, whether it’s in Europe, Africa or wherever.”
During Wednesday’s conference, he doubled down on his opinion by accusing Locht and Mira of insulting the “whole Black community.”