Profiting from the pandemic? Fauci set for book and documentary deal
American infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is anticipating two books about him to hit the shelves. Aside from the book deals, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is set to appear in a new Disney-produced documentary. Despite these deals, he has been criticized for profiting from the pandemic.
The NIAID director announced on June 1 that he will publish a book titled “Expect the Unexpected: Ten Lessons on Truth, Service and the Way Forward.” He added that the book will be released by National Geographic Books on Nov. 2. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have opened pre-orders for the 80-page book at $18 per copy. A NIAID spokesperson told the Daily Mail that Fauci will not be paid for the project.
“Expect the Unexpected” will draw from interviews of Fauci conducted during his more than three decades helming NIAID. An overview of the book describes it: “Those looking to live a more compassionate and purposeful life will find inspiration in his unique perspective on leadership, expecting the unexpected and finding joy in difficult times.”
While Fauci’s 80-page book is set for a later date, another book about him is set for release in late June of this year. The children’s picture book titled “Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor” will be released on June 28. It draws upon interviews with the infectious disease doctor conducted by the author Kate Messner.
Aside from these two books, Fauci will also be the subject of a new documentary. The film is set to air on National Geographic – owned by The Walt Disney Company – later this year. Emmy winners John Hoffman and Janet Tobias are set to direct, while Dan Cogan and Liz Garbus are slated to produce the film.
Documentary filmmakers reportedly followed the infectious disease expert throughout 2020. They captured footage of Fauci working as part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force under the Trump and Biden administrations. Emails made public revealed that former Disney CEO Bob Iger was “extremely supportive” of the project when it was pitched early last year.
The book and film deals translate to publicity – and profit – for Fauci
The projects involving Fauci highlight how he will remain in the spotlight even after the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ends. Currently, the NIAID director is the highest-paid federal employee in the U.S. with an annual salary of $417,608. The U.S. president receives a slightly lower yearly salary of $400,000.
But the infectious disease expert was not the first government official accused of profiting from the pandemic. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his own book last year titled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Pandemic.” Despite the book deal amounting to $5.1 million, it has only sold around 45,000 copies as of writing.
According to a piece by Alex Shephard of The New Republic, Cuomo’s book is “a disaster from a sales standpoint.” He added that the book itself may even have contributed to the governor being embroiled in a scandal. While Cuomo and his aides were working on “American Crisis,” they were also undercounting the actual number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. (Related: Cuomo regime “undercounted” coronavirus nursing home deaths in New York.)
It is not yet clear how Americans will receive Fauci’s new book, but some have already criticized him for supposedly profiting during a pandemic. Many even took to Twitter to voice out their sentiments against the NIAID director, the Western Journal reported.
Tablet Magazine‘s Noam Blum wrote: “I really need the people in charge of handling this pandemic to stop writing books about how they’re handling this pandemic while they’re still doing it.” Greg Price of The Daily Caller meanwhile tweeted: “Dr. Fauci is publishing a book and [has become] the highest paid federal government employee, while you lost your business and had your kids out of school for a year.”
Three U.S. lawmakers from the Republican Party also joined in the fray. North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop noted how Fauci “never missed a paycheck” while advocating that people lose theirs. He added: “His lockdown mandates destroyed livelihoods and threatened our children’s futures. Now he’ll be profiting nicely off it.” (Related: Republican lawmakers call on Dr. Anthony Fauci to testify about coronavirus origins.)
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan posted: “Dr. Fauci took away your First Amendment rights during the pandemic, [but] relied on the First Amendment to write his new book.” Meanwhile, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs kept it short with a one-sentence tweet: “Profiting from the pandemic with a book deal is truly a new low.”
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