State Farm Insurance has angered many following a statement of support for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the company's longtime spokesperson who has espoused anti-vaccination views in the wake of his COVID-19 diagnosis.
In its statement, the company called Rodgers a "great ambassador" and confirmed they would not be parting ways with him as their spokesperson, while also clarifying that they do not agree with Rodgers' anti-vaxx stance.
The statement struck many as irresponsible given that the U.S.'s anti-vaccination climate has resulted in just 58% of the population being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a rate that drastically lags most developed countries.
State Farm's statement, issued to USA Today Sports on Monday, read:
"Aaron Rodgers has been a great ambassador for our company for much of the past decade."
"We don't support some of the statements that he has made, but we respect his right to have his own personal point of view.
"We recognize our customers, employees, agents and brand ambassadors come from all walks of life, with differing viewpoints on many issues."
"Our mission at State Farm is to support safer, stronger communities. To that end, we encourage vaccinations, but respect everyone's right to make a choice based on their personal circumstances."
Rodgers sparked a firestorm last week amid his COVID-19 diagnosis when he revealed he was not vaccinated because he was afraid the shot would make him sterile, an oft-repeated rumor with roots in the QAnon conspiracy theory that has absolutely no truth whatsoever.
Rodgers had stated publicly in August that he was "immunized," a lie that led veteran sports broadcaster Terry Bradshaw to lay into Rodgers on air for risking his teammates' health.
At Rogan's suggestion, Rodgers revealed he began taking Ivermectin, a veterinary drug conspiracy theorists claim cures COVID-19. Use of the drug to treat COVID-19 has resulted in deaths.
Given Rodgers' dishonesty and the dangerous conspiracy theories he has spread, State Farm's support touched off an angry backlash online.
Prevea Health Group, another company for which Rodgers has been a spokesperson since 2012, has not taken quite as lenient a route in response to Rodgers' anti-vaxx stances.
The Wisconsin healthcare company announced over the weekend that it was severing ties with Rodgers, citing its commitment to "protecting its patients, staff, providers and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."