Fact Check

Unsubstantiated Rumor Claims Jamie Foxx 'Paralyzed and Blind' After COVID-19 Vaccination

Gossip columnist A.J. Benza presented this claim on an episode of Dr. Drew Pinsky's podcast, "Ask Dr. Drew."

Published Jun 5, 2023

Updated Jun 8, 2023
Jamie Foxx attends the Los Angeles screening of "Below The Belt" at the Directors Guild of America on Oct. 01, 2022. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic) (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Jamie Foxx attends the Los Angeles screening of "Below The Belt" at the Directors Guild of America on Oct. 01, 2022. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Claim:
An April 2023 medical incident related to a COVID-19 vaccination left entertainer Jamie Foxx paralyzed and blind.
Context

On April 11, 2023, Foxx experienced what his daughter Corinne referred to in a since-deleted Instagram post as being a “medical complication.” At the time this report was published on June 5, no further specifying information about Foxx’s private health matter had been announced by him, close family members, or any of his representatives. Two days later, NBC News reported that Foxx’s representatives said that the claim that the entertainer had been seriously injured by a COVID-19 vaccination was “completely inaccurate.”

In early June 2023, readers sent us questions that asked about an unsubstantiated rumor that said entertainer Jamie Foxx had become paralyzed and blind after experiencing a blood clot from a COVID-19 vaccination. This claim stemmed from genuine news that Foxx had been hospitalized in April in what was referred to at the time as being a "medical complication."

Here's the bottom-line: As of June 5, the day that this story was published, no specific details had been released yet by Foxx, close family members, or any of his representatives that would further explain the kind of private health incident he had experienced nearly two months earlier.

In an update, on June 7, NBC News reported that Foxx's representatives had denied the rumor, calling it "completely inaccurate" that the entertainer had been seriously injured by a COVID-19 vaccination.

We also emailed two publicists associated with Foxx to ask questions about the rumor but did not receive a reply. We will add their responses to this story if they provide any information.

Before we discuss the rumor's origins, we will first document several key dates with a timeline for context.

April 12: 'A Medical Complication'

This story began on April 12 when Foxx's daughter, Corrine, wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post that her father had "experienced a medical complication yesterday."

Her post continued: "Luckily, due to quick action and great care, he is already on his way to recovery. We know how beloved he is and appreciate your prayers. The family asks for privacy during this time."

The "CBS Mornings" TV show broadcast a screenshot of the post before it disappeared:

In the days prior to the "medical complication," Foxx had reportedly been filming with fellow actor Cameron Diaz and other actors for a Netflix movie titled "Back in Action," according to People.com. The film was scheduled to shoot scenes in Atlanta, Georgia. People.com also reported that he had been hospitalized in the same state.

May 3: Instagram Post

On May 3, an image was uploaded to Foxx's Instagram account that read, "Appreciate all the love!!! Feeling blessed." The message included emojis of prayer hands, a heart, and a fox.

As of June 5, this was the only post made on Foxx's Instagram account since the time he had begun experiencing the unspecified health issue.

May 12: Family Update (Pickleball)

On May 12, the Los Angeles Times reported that Corrine had issued another update about her father's condition.

In her Instagram Stories, she responded to a screenshot of a headline that claimed, "Jamie Foxx's Loved Ones Reportedly Preparing for the Worst."

She wrote, "Update from the family: Sad to see how the media runs wild. My dad has been out of the hospital for weeks, recuperating. In fact, he was playing pickleball yesterday! Thanks for everyone's prayers and support! We have an exciting work announcement coming next week too!"

The Geek Vibes Nation account captured a screenshot of the story:

A search of Foxx's name with the game of pickleball produced several videos from the past that showed his admiration of the sport.

May 16: Mike Tyson's 'Stroke' Remark

Four days later, on May 16, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson appeared on Patrick Bet-David's "PBD Podcast."

At the 1:29:26 mark in the video, Bet-David asked Tyson, "Mike, are you following what's going on with Jamie Foxx?" Tyson answered, "He's not feeling well."

Bet-David responded with, "Something's going on with..." Tyson replied, "Yeah, they said stroke. I have no idea what happened to him."

Guest Adam Sosnick later asked, "Has there even been any actual news on what this medical condition is? I mean, Jamie Foxx is a young, vibrant, healthy guy. And all of a sudden, boom."

Tyson responded to Sosnick with, "Hey, listen. If we don't know by now, they don't want us to know."

May 30: A.J. Benza's 'Paralyzed and Blind' Remark

On May 30, gossip columnist and podcaster A.J. Benza appeared on Dr. Drew Pinsky's podcast, "Ask Dr. Drew." The episode was titled as, "Jamie Foxx Health Scare: Is The COVID mRNA Booster To Blame? A.J. Benza Shares Exclusive – Ask Dr. Drew."

At the 11:26 mark in the episode, Benza presented the idea that Foxx had become paralyzed and blind, purportedly from a blood clot that was caused by a COVID-19 vaccination. According to Benza, Foxx was "pressured" to get the vaccine.

We transcribed Benza's remarks below:

I worked my butt off to get a story about what happened to Jamie Foxx, because it was all baloney what they were reporting. "He's playing pickleball. He's responding on Instagram." No he's not. People do that for you. It's all lies.

I had somebody in the room who let me know that Jamie had a blood clot in his brain after he'd got the shot. He did not want the shot but the movie he was on, he was pressured to get it, this movie he's doing with Cameron Diaz. And I'm thinking, is that why he blew up on the set a week before this medical emergency happened? Is that why he fired three or four people? Because he just had had it with these mandates?

I don't know, but what I found out from the man in the room was that the blood clot in the brain caused him at that point to be partially paralyzed and blind, because if you read into what they were saying early on, "he's communicating with us" ... that doesn't mean talking. That could be anything. It could be writing, sign l-... I know those little code words. And then when you tell me your father's playing pickleball, give me a break.

You know, I don't know w-... There's a great shroud of secrecy around Jamie Foxx. He's probably the most multi-talented person we have in Hollywood, but even TMZ is not reporting this, and I know TMZ has got sources in hospitals who give them information, whether it's legal or not. But they're not... Mike Tyson got close. A week after I broke my story on my show, Mike Tyson said that Jamie had a blood clot in his brain. No one's gone that far to say that yet.

Pinsky then responded to Benza, saying, "It's been widely known that he had a stroke, right? I mean they've said stroke a hundred times."

Again, as of this writing, there had been no official word from Foxx, close family members, or any of his representatives that would explain the "medical complication" he had experienced in April.

On June 5, we asked Benza several questions in a direct message on Twitter. One of our questions was if he had any new details to share. He responded to us with the following:

No, I have no additional information other than what my very reliable source gave me last week. What you should be doing is asking the Foxx family why Jamie isn't holding up his iPhone and telling his fans he's fine. I don't make things up. I've been at this for over 30 years.

This story will be updated should any further details come to light.

Note: Benza's mention of the "he's communicating with us" line appeared to come from a report filed by TMZ

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Sources

Caruso, Skyler. "Jamie Foxx's Medical Emergency: Everything We Know So Far." People Magazine, 15 May 2023, https://people.com/health/jamie-foxx-medical-emergency-timeline/.

@CBSMornings. "Actor Jamie Foxx Is Recovering after He 'Experienced a Medical Complication' on Tuesday, According to His Daughter.  She Did Not Provide Many Details, but Said Quick Action and Great Care Are Helping Him on His Way to Recovery." Twitter, 13 Apr. 2023, https://twitter.com/CBSMornings/status/1646508182112542721.

"Jamie Foxx Health Scare: Is The COVID mRNA Booster To Blame? A.J. Benza Discusses – Ask Dr. Drew | Dr. Drew Official Website - DrDrew.com." Dr. Drew | Official Website, 30 May 2023, https://drdrew.com/2023/jamie-foxx-health-scare-is-the-covid-mrna-booster-to-blame-a-j-benza-discusses-ask-dr-drew/.

"Jamie Foxx Hospitalized with 'Medical Complication,' Family Says He's Recovering." TMZ, https://www.tmz.com/2023/04/12/jamie-foxx-hospitalized-suffers-medical-complication-recovering/. Accessed 5 June 2023.

Juneau, Jen. "Jamie Foxx Remains Hospitalized in Georgia as He Undergoes More Tests After Medical Complication." People Magazine, 17 Apr. 2023, https://people.com/movies/jamie-foxx-still-in-georgia-hospital-for-more-tests-after-medical-complication/.

"Mike Tyson Reacts To Dylan Mulvaney Being Endorsed By Bud Light | PBD Podcast | Ep. 269." YouTube, PBD Podcast, 16 May 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNeyzh4njt0.

Pinsky, Dr. Drew. "Jamie Foxx Health Scare: Is A COVID mRNA Booster To Blame? AJ Benza Shares Exclusive – Ask Dr. Drew." YouTube, Dr. Drew, 30 May 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4RF_q3WUk.

Rosenblatt, Kalhan. "An Unsubstantiated Claim That Jamie Foxx Was Hospitalized after a Covid Vaccination Is Going Viral on Social Media." NBC News, 8 June 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/jamie-foxx-social-media-vaccine-hospital-claims-viral-rcna88165.

Saad, Nardine. "Jamie Foxx Breaks Silence after 'medical Complication,' Says 'See u All Soon.'" Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2023, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2023-05-03/jamie-foxx-beat-shazam-nick-cannon-medical-complication-corinne-foxx.

---. "Jamie Foxx 'has Been out of the Hospital for Weeks, Recuperating,' Daughter Says." Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2023, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2023-05-12/jamie-foxx-hospital-pickleball-recuperating-corinne-foxx.

Vasquez, Ingrid. "Jamie Foxx Is 'On His Way to Recovery' After Facing 'Medical Complication.'" People Magazine, 12 Apr. 2023, https://people.com/health/jamie-foxx-recovering-from-medical-complication/.

Updates

June 8, 2023: This report was updated to mention fresh reporting from NBC News.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.