Meet the ‘Girl Boss Misinfo Types’ Bringing Together Wellness Influencers and Canadian Trucker Convoy “There’s this prominent through-thread of anti-elitism and individualism that white female wellness influencers in particular are drawn to,” says one researcher


Ange Peters sighs contentedly, bathed in warm light, her skin glowing against her yellow-and-pink striped sweater and flawless ombre highlights. “What a feeling today,” she says to the camera before pausing dramatically. “This was it. This was gonna be it, all along.” She chuckles. “This was the thing that no one anticipated.”

Peters is perhaps best known as the founder and CEO of HOL:FIT, a holistic training and nutrition brand that doubles as a vendor for her to sell essential oils marketed by doTERRA, a Utah-based multi-level marketing company. On Instagram, she has about 43,000 followers. At first glance, the video seems to hew to her usual content template of promotions for her wellness workshops, or cozy car seat vlogs offering vaguely inspirational messages. Yet the video also includes a repost of a call to imprison Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and concludes with a shot of a truck with a “Freedom Convoy 2022” flag over the fender, a giant tidal wave superimposed on top of it.

Peters, who did not respond to a request for comment, is just one of many health and wellness influencers who have started openly embracing the convoy on social media. Last week, Angela Liddon, a popular cookbook author, and influencer best known as Oh She Glows, posted an Instagram story in praise of the truckers: “What will our future look like if the government continues along the path of lockdowns, segregation, division/blame, mandates, and censorship?” she asked. Toronto-based ASMRtist and lifestyle influencer GwenGwiz, who has 508,000 subscribers on YouTube and has been regularly posting anti-vaccine and Covid-denialist content throughout the pandemic, has also been posting in support of the trucker convoy on her Telegram channel, reposting videos from the Freedom Convoy 2022 Instagram account and criticizing “the lying MSM” for its coverage of the convoy.

“I’m definitely seeing a lot of images and memes and conspiracy theories about the trucker protest coming out” from the wellness community, says Rachel Moran, a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for an Informed Public, a research institute at the University of Washington that looks at me- and disinformation. “We’ve been calling them the Girl Boss misinfo types, ones who are staunchly anti-vax and sell these anti-metal toxin sprays on their Instagram feed. They’re spreading all sorts of conspiracy theories about FBI partnerships with Canadian authorities and Ottawa police to surveil the protesters, and it’s all tied to the downfall of the Deep State.”

Influencers publicly supporting the convoy, which started in protest against trucker vaccine mandates and has left the country’s capital city of Ottawa immobilized for the past 11 days, is the natural culmination of the wellness community’s increasing convergence with anti-vaccine or Covid-denying conspiracy theories, all in the name of supporting personal freedom and bodily autonomy. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a gradual yet palpable shift in the wellness community toward spirituality, a portmanteau of “conspiracy theories” and “spirituality” constituting a mélange of woo mysticism and distrust toward the mainstream medical establishment, with a healthy dose of libertarianism thrown in for good measure. This strain has infiltrated all corners of the wellness ecosystem, from natural childbirth influencers to yoga teachers on Instagram.

“There’s this prominent through-thread of anti-elitism and individualism that white female wellness influencers, in particular, are drawn to,” says Moran. “This idea that you’re drawn to your own destiny is what has connected them with a lot of these protests, not just the current one…. it mirrors this take on wellness that modern medicine is bad for you and cant to be trusted and it’s all up to us individuals to spread the word. That narrative ties this all together.”

Prior to the pandemic, many influencers with large platforms and brand deals at stake had financial incentives to keep their personal political views off social media. But increasingly, many wellness influencers — such as JP Sears, a former holistic wellness coach who has now pivoted to right-wing Covid denialism and anti-vax comedy sketch videos — are watching their followings blossom as a result of broadcasting such views. The rise of influencers embracing anti-vaccine sentiment has also coincided with the ascent of Pastel QAnon, a term coined by researcher Marc-Andre Argentino to describe influencers using Instagram grid-friendly, feminine aesthetics to broadcast extremist views.

Since it started last month, the Freedom Convoy has attracted attention from conservative media and high-profile figures all across the globe. Billionaire Elon Musk and conservative author Jordan Peterson have expressed their support for the convoy, and a GoFundMe for the truckers raised nearly $10 million before it was removed by the platform last week for violating terms of service regarding violence and harassment. Entrepreneur, wellness guru, and Bulletproof Coffee founder Dave Asprey, who often uses his platform to criticize Covid lockdown protocols, has also posted repeatedly supporting the truckers and criticizing GoFundMe. “These protests are the most peaceful, polite, and clean you will find anywhere. After all, they are Canadian! Either you are on the right side of history, or you aren’t,” he wrote in one post to his more than 500,000 followers. (Ottawa has declared a state of emergency in response to the trucker convoy, and earlier this week police responded to reports of attempted arson in an apartment building near the convoy, reportedly following an argument between protesters and some of the building’s residents.)

Such support is in spite of the fact that researchers believe the convoy’s organizers have links to Canadian hate groups and have expressed anti-Islamic sentiment. These alleged links have largely not been covered in the media, and they are certainly aren’t mentioned in the posts by influencers promoting the movement as a largely peaceful protest in favor of bodily freedom. (One of the organizers, Tamara Lich, made a video on the convoy’s Facebook page stating that nobody in the convoy should be “inciting violence or uttering threats” and should report any violence to the police.)

The need to represent the convoy as a nonpartisan protest about bodily autonomy, divorced of any far-right-wing or extremist affiliation, is particularly urgent in light of the events of Jan. 6, which the GOP has been scrambling to reframe as a peaceful action despite footage of rioters attacking police officers and calling for the death of major political figures. “They’re setting up a David and Goliath framework here,” says Moran.

And so-called Girl Boss misinformation types, with their built-in audiences of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of loyal followers hanging onto they're every word, may be crucial in perpetuating that narrative. “Those kinds of accounts are the most nefarious in a way,” says Moran. “They’re really good at building trust with people, especially these glamorous white women who fit what we deem to be attractive. Maybe you trust their advice about what workout gear you’re gonna wear, and you build this parasocial relationship with them, and then they’re suddenly sharing this information about vaccine misinformation. And you’re more inclined to believe it because you have trust in them.”

Ford and Toyota on Wednesday both said they were halting some production as anti-coronavirus mandate protesters blocked U.S-Canada border crossings that have prompted warnings from Washington and Ottawa of economic damage.

Many pandemic-weary Western countries will soon mark two years of restrictions as copycat protests spread to Australia, New Zealand, and France now the highly infectious Omicron variant begins to ease in some places.

Horn-blaring protests have been causing gridlock in the capital Ottawa since late January and from Monday night, truckers shut inbound Canada traffic at the Ambassador Bridge, a supply route for Detroit's carmakers and agricultural products.

A number of carmakers have now been affected by the disruption near Detroit, the historic heart of the U.S. automotive sector, but there were other factors too such as severe weather and a shortage of semiconductor chips.

Toyota (7203.T), the top U.S. seller, said it is not expected to produce vehicles at its Ontario sites for the rest of the week, output has been halted at a Ford (F.N) engine plant and Chrysler-maker Stellantis (STLA.MI) has also been disrupted.

Another border crossing, in Alberta province, has been closed in both directions since late on Tuesday.

More than two-thirds of the C$650 billion ($511 billion) in goods traded annually between Canada and the United States is transported by road.

Starting as a "Freedom Convoy" occupying downtown Ottawa opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border truckers mirrored by the U.S. government, protesters have also aired grievances about a carbon tax and other legislation.

"I think it's important for everyone in Canada and the United States to understand what the impact of this blockage is - potential impact - on workers, on the supply chain, and that is where we're most focused," White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

"We're also looking to track potential disruptions to U.S. agricultural exports from Michigan into Canada."

Washington is working with authorities across the border to reroute traffic to the Blue Water Bridge, which links Port Huron in Michigan with Sarnia in Ontario, amid worries protests could turn violent, she told reporters.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem called for a swift resolution.

"If there were to be prolonged blockages at key entry points into Canada that could start to have a measurable impact on economic activity," he said.

"We've already got a strained global supply chain. We don't need this."


The protests were disrupting jobs too and "must end before further damage occurs," Canada's Emergency Preparedness Minister, Bill Blair, told reporters.

Ford suspended engine output in Windsor while its Oakville factory near Toronto is operating with a reduced schedule, as it warned the Ambassador Bridge closure "could have widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada." 

Chrysler-maker Stellantis has also faced a shortage of parts at its assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, where it had to end shifts early on Tuesday, but was able to resume production on Wednesday.

Protesters say they are peaceful, but some Ottawa residents have said they were attacked and harassed. In Toronto, streets were being blocked.

"We continue to know that science and public health rules and guidance is the best way to this pandemic is the way we're going to get to the other side," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The issue has caused a sharp split between the ruling Liberals and the opposition Conservatives, many of whom have expressed open support for the protesters in Ottawa and accuse Trudeau of using the issue of the mandate for political purposes.

In the United States, prosecutors in Missouri and Texas will probe crowdfunding service GoFundMe over the decision to take down a page for a campaign in support of the drivers after some Republicans vowed to investigate.

Downtown Ottawa residents criticized police for their initially permissive attitude toward the blockade, but authorities began trying to take back control Sunday night with the seizure of thousands of liters of fuel and the removal of an oil tanker truck.

Police have asked for reinforcements - both officers and people with legal expertise in insurance and licensing - suggesting intentions to pursue enforcement through commercial vehicle licenses.

But as the authorities attempt to quell demonstrations in one area, they pop up elsewhere.

"Even as we have made some headway in Ottawa, we've seen an illegal blockade emerge in Windsor," said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino.

A blockade at the busiest route linking Canada to the United States is further snarling global supply chains, leading to production stoppages and other difficulties for automakers and other manufacturers with dwindling inventories.

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