Inside the White Rose: an anti-vaxx, Covid conspiracy theory ecosystem

Over the past few years, I’ve given more than 100 free talks to Skeptics in the Pub groups, humanists, students, conferences, degree courses and comedy festivals – including my talks:

  • Adventures in pseudoscience – a fun journey through almost a decade of my skeptical activism and investigations
  • Diluting NHS Homeopathy until it’s just a memory – a look at Good Thinking’s campaign to investigate and challenge NHS funding for homeopathy
  • Circular Reasoning: The Rise of Flat Earth Belief – investigations into the Flat Earth conspiracy movement, and why people fell for the belief
  • Bad PR – how and why the media fell to publishing PR pieces as news, and why it matters.

My new talk, based on my investigation into the COVID-19 conspiracy and anti-vaccine movement, is also now available. If you’d like me to talk for your Skeptics in the Pub, university group, humanist group or other, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to come speak for you. You can find dates of my upcoming talks below, and to arrange a talk in your area simply email

Inside the White Rose: an anti-vaxx, Covid conspiracy theory ecosystem


When 2020 brought with it a new strain of coronavirus, the world was plunged into confusion and uncertainty. While most people accepted the realities of the virus, little white stickers began to appear in public around the world claiming COVID-19 was a hoax concocted by the governments of the world to instil fear into their people, as a pretext for introducing new, permanent totalitarian laws. The graffiti was part of a co-ordinated grassroots campaign by a group calling itself The White Rose, urging members of the public to join their encrypted messaging channels to learn more about what was really going on.

So that’s what Michael Marshall, full-time skeptical investigator and activist, did. After spending months undercover in the messaging app Telegram, he has reported on the various conspiracy theories spread by the White Rose, and how groups used the Covid crisis to radicalise vaccine hesitant members of the public into a dangerous ecosystem of misinformation and extremism.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, Editor of The Skeptic, and President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast, and presents investigative reporting on the Skeptics with a K podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times, The New Statesman and New Scientist.

Requirements: projector, screen.

Upcoming dates:

  • To be rescheduled – Lancashire Humanists
  • To be rescheduled – Plymouth Humanists
  • July 16, 2022 – SkeptiCal (online)
  • September 20, 2022 – Brighton Skeptics in the Pub
  • December 13, 2022 – Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub

Previous dates: