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Added • Updated 10 months ago

Added by Adam • Updated 10 months ago by Adam
Added by Adam • Updated 10 months ago by Adam

reddit's /r/hermancainaward
Category: Site Status: Submission Year: 2020 Origin: Reddit Region:
Type: Forum,
Tags: herman cain, covid-19, anti-vaccination movement, anti-vax, deaths,

Additional References: Reddit,
reddit's /r/hermancainaward


/r/HermanCainAward is a subreddit dedicated to posting about COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaxers who ultimately die from COVID-19. It is named after Herman Cain, the Republican politician who died of COVID-19 shortly after being photographed attending an indoor Donald Trump rally maskless and surrounded by other maskless attendees in 2020. Posts on the subreddit tend to feature screenshots from the deceased's social media accounts, often starting with a post where the deceased downplayed COVID-19, then a collection of posts in which the deceased wrote about contracting and struggling with COVID-19, then and a final post from a loved one announcing their death. As the subreddit grew popular, it has proven controversial, with some media publications calling it cruel.


/r/HermanCainAward[1] launched on September 21st, 2020. The subreddit's description reads, "Nominees have made public declaration of their anti-mask, anti-vax, or Covid-hoax views, followed by admission to hospital for Covid. The Award is granted upon the nominee's release from their Earthly shackles." The top post on the subreddit was posted on September 9th, 2021 by user masiakasaurus and documents Herman Cain's journey from COVID-denial to death in his social media posts, gaining over 65,000 points (shown below).

Many of the posts on the subreddit feature similar slideshows of posts from conservative vaccine deniers, ending with their death (example shown below, top). There are also highly-rated posts from people reporting they or a loved one has gotten the vaccine (shown below, bottom).

Slate[2] reports that the site grew exponentially in the summer of 2021, noting that it had 5,000 subscribers on July 4th, 2021. As of September 22nd, it has over 292,000 subscribers.

Online Presence

In September of 2021, as the subreddit began growing more popular, it began attracting media attention. On September 21st, Slate[2] wrote a piece critical of the subreddit, saying, "It is cruel, a site for heartless and unrepentant schadenfreude." They also described commenters' reactions to the "award" post as "the person got their just deserts." The piece led to much pushback in the subreddit about how it was characterized. A post by user SexWaffles titled "A gentle reminder to any journalists who will/want to write about this sub: NONE OF US WANTS THIS SUB TO EXIST"[3] written in response gained over 40,000 points in less than 24 hours.

On September 22nd, Vice[4] wrote a piece that took a more charitable view of the subreddit, interpreting the subreddit as a way to encourage the unvaccinated to get a vaccine. Vice highlighted a comment[5] from subreddit moderator MightyCaseyStruckOut that explained how the subreddit, while not originally created to encourage vaccines, currently has a goal of making anti-vaxxers "see the error of their ways" and get vaccinated. The comment in part reads:

This subreddit exists to make an attempt to get people to see the error of their ways and get the jab. That obviously wasn't the original intent when the subreddit was created, since it is a year old, but as the vaccine became more readily available and the subreddit became more popular, this has been a stated goal by the creator of the subreddit, and the entire moderation team is behind this goal, as we have stated on more than one occasion.

Search Interest


External References

Tags: herman cain, covid-19, anti-vaccination movement, anti-vax, deaths,

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