Meet The ‘American Frontline Nurses’ Telling Parents To Give Kids Ivermectin


By David Gilbert

Tyler Kuhk has spent the last year as the target of a relentless harassment campaign. He has been labeled a pedophile and reported to the police for threatening children, his face was plastered on mugs that are sold by his tormentor, and his workplace has been inundated with messages calling for him to be fired.

All because Kuhk has spoken out against a fellow nurse, Nicole Sirotek, who has been using social media to spread disinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines while raising tens of thousands of dollars to fund her work. Now, Sirotek’s supporters have escalated their campaign against Kuhk, and he faces the prospect of being fired after an anonymous person filed a complaint with his state nursing board.

Kuhk isn’t Sirotek’s only target. Her group American Frontline Nurses spreads disinformation on mainstream social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook while targeting a variety of healthcare professionals. The group continues to raise money, and she has been headlining conspiracy conferences and even speaking in the Senate Office Building.

And for most of that time, despite not working as a nurse, Sirotek has been serving on a government-appointed nursing committee in Nevada, which is tasked with protecting the public by ensuring nurses are competent and that they provide safe, evidence-based care.

“I stand by my dedication to the profession and the care I have for these issues, but the risks almost seem to outweigh the benefits at this point, financially, professionally and mentally,” said Kuhk. “In what rational world would a nursing regulatory agency ignore, enable and what feels like protect a nurse that used social media to spearhead a multitude of disinformation campaigns, and get away with it for so long?”

Sirotek has aligned herself with some of the biggest names in the misinformation ecosystem, including anti-vaccine stars Peter McCullough and Del Bigtree. Like many of these figures, Sirotek has claimed—without evidence—that she is the victim in all of this, making wild accusations against Kuhk and other nurses, suggesting that they threatened her children and pushed her to contemplate suicide.

Sirotek did not respond to multiple attempts to contact her on email, social media accounts, and phone, and American Frontline Nurses did not respond to detailed questions about the allegations Sirotek has made against Kuhk.

For years Kuhk was among a small cadre of medical professionals have been trying to fight back against those spreading medical disinformation on social media, but since the pandemic began, this group has been overwhelmed, as the anti-vaccine movement has grown dramatically and social media has given them the the tools to reach ever-larger audiences.

“It’s asymmetrical warfare,” said Joe Smyser, CEO of D.C.-based nonprofit Public Good Projects, which works to tackle vaccine hesitancy. “You have legitimate healthcare providers using the platforms they have to call out misinformation as they see it. Then you have the other side who respond by making it immediately very personal, very intimate, very scary. It is a very, very nasty place and it is scary how much information they can find about you.”

Public Good Projects runs the Shots Heard Around the World initiative, which actively aids medical professions who are being attacked online for countering disinformation. Smyser, who has been doxxed and faced multiple death threats, said that as the world moves on from the pandemic, the attacks on medical professionals are not only increasing, but becoming much more sophisticated.

Sirotek, 37, who lives in Elko, Nevada, first came to national attention in 2020 when she traveled to New York as the city’s hospitals and medical staff were being overwhelmed in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. She gained notoriety when she posted a now-deleted YouTube video asserting that other healthcare professionals were “killing all the patients for money,” especially people of color, while comparing the ICU to a gas chamber in Nazi Germany.

She was widely criticized by fellow nurses and doctors, but the clip went viral and was covered as credible by several mainstream media outlets.

Heather Bateman, a registered nurse who has closely tracked and called out Sirotek’s disinformation for years, says Sirotek was only looking for headline grabbing claims, regardless of what the facts were.

“The truth is hardly sensational, which is why Nicole Sirotek and other anti-vaccine and anti-science professionals have moved toward the grifting line of disinformation,” said Bateman. “That is sensational and brings them far more fame and money than their previous healthcare careers ever could have.”

The response to Sirotek’s video set her on a path to becoming a major pusher of COVID and vaccine disinformation. As her star rose in the disinformation ecosystem, she joined other nurses who hosted the so-called Global Frontline Nurses Summit in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. The summit was one of the warm-up acts ahead of Trump’s speech that preceded the storming of the Capitol that day. Sirotek and other nurses were joined on stage by high-profile disinformation figures like Bigtree, the prominent anti-vaccine activist, and Vladimir Zelenko, a doctor who was scrutinized by prosecutors after touting a supposed COVID-19 miracle cure that had not been approved by the FDA..

In July 2021 Sirotek sought to brand her disinformation efforts by creating American Frontline Nurses, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that says its goal “to educate.”

Instead, under Sirotek’s leadership and leveraging her nursing qualifications, the group has undermined COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and public health measures, and attacked childhood vaccine programs. It has even ventured into conspiracies, boosting lies about chemtrails and fluoride in drinking water.

Sirotek also used her growing influence to threaten the safety of medical professionals.

In one video, Sirotek encouraged her followers to call a facility in Florida that she claimed was “murdering their COVID patients.” In another case she told her podcast listeners to harass healthcare providers in Idaho who had taken a malnourished infant child into custody, making wild allegations against a nurse involved in the case, and ordering her followers to file a complaint against the nurse for “false information, and anything else. Uh, falsifying a medical record, endangering a child, uh, negligence.” Sirotek provided no evidence to back up her claims.

Sirotek used her new profile within the disinformation community to raise money, claiming her notoriety meant she could no longer work. In one Facebook video where she solicits funds for an unspecified legal fight, Sirotek tells her audience: “I’m not a nurse and I don’t work as a nurse.”

Sirotek has said that she has been unable to obtain work as a nurse since she posted the video from New York in early 2020. Late that year, she registered for nursing licenses in Nevada and Utah using another name, Marie Rosalie Cordero. Both those licenses have now expired, according to online records that were reviewed.

Sirotek claimed in a Substack post last year that she changed her name legally to protect her children from harassment, but the license in Utah was issued in late 2020, long before anyone was calling out Sirotek online and a full six months before she created American Frontline Nurses. That organization was set up in July 2021, and according to a financial statement for the last six months of the year, the group raked in $83,000 in donations and membership fees, while spending just under $55,000 “to educate and train nurses to be advocates the nursing profession needs regarding nurse and patient rights.” By the end of the year it had $28,000 in cash on hand.

Despite the group’s name, its promotion of unproven treatments like ivermectin, and its claims about training nurses, the group’s website and Sirotek repeatedly claim that they do not give out medical advice.

They do, however, conduct vicious and coordinated harassment campaigns against medical professionals who promote public health measures on social media and call out Sirotek’s lies.

In January 2022, Sirotek was one of the headline speakers at an event hosted by Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, which was rife with COVID disinformation. During her presentation, Sirotek falsely claimed that the FDA-approved antiviral COVID treatment Remdesivir is “continuing to kill patients in the United States” and that recipients have “a less than 25% chance of survival if they get more than two doses.”

The claims were quickly debunked, but video clips of her comments were shared on YouTube and other social media platforms, where they have been viewed millions of times.

It was around this time that Kuhk, the registered nurse working in Washington state, first came across Sirotek’s content. Kuhk had spent years posting videos on social media trying to debunk disinformation and was horrified that Sirotek not only ran a tax-exempt charity but was still a member of the Nevada Board of Nursing’s nursing practice advisory committee, which she has been on since at least 2019.

So Kuhk set out to try and raise awareness about Sirotek and her group. As well as making complaints to the Nevada Board of Nursing, he posted videos online highlighting Sirotek’s dangerous disinformation campaign.

“The things we were giving the [Nevada Board of Nursing] were so egregious,” said Kuhk, “that anybody in their right rational mind would be like, ‘Why the hell is this woman on a regulatory agency?’”

His complaints fell on deaf ears, and Sirotek’s term on the committee was renewed in May 2022. So Kuhk renewed his efforts to raise awareness, and made some more videos about Sirotek.

Those videos gained some traction and people began to complain to the Nevada Board of Nursing in larger numbers until the board was finally compelled to conduct an investigation into Sirotek.

“Nothing was ever done until a bunch of videos that got thousands of views and people slammed them with complaints,” Kuhk said.

Ultimately, this led to Sirotek voluntarily surrendering her license in lieu of disciplinary action in October. In her submission to the board, Sirotek states: “I freely admit that I instructed viewers on a social media platform to give children ivermectin.”

The Nevada Board of Nursing did not respond to multiple attempts to contact them by phone and email. None of the individual members of the board or the advisory committee of which Sirotek was a member responded to similar requests.

But Kuhk’s interactions with Sirotek didn’t end there. After she was removed from the nursing committee in Nevada, Sirotek’s campaign of harassment against him accelerated dramatically.

Sirotek posted Kuhk’s work information on her Facebook page, and her supporters began calling his employer, trying to get him fired. She made baseless allegations claiming he had sent her images in the mail threatening her children and labeled him a “pedo sympathizer” in a public Facebook post.

Sirotek also started selling a mug on the AFN website that used an image of Kuhk and portrayed him falling into a toilet. The mug, which cost $18.50, was called the TikTok Troll Jumbo Mug (it is no longer on sale on AFN’s site).

“It’s all retaliatory, based on the fact that we called her out. She was held accountable for her shitty actions, and she’s just taking it way too far,” Kuhk said.

Lori Boyle, a registered nurse from New Jersey, says she’s also faced harassment for calling out Sirotek’s lies and for making an official complaint to the Nevada Board of Nursing.

Sirotek shared Boyle’s Facebook posts and Boyle received direct messages from some of Sirotek’s supporters of the group. She was also the subject of a police report that Sirotek filed with the Elko Police Department, claiming Boyle was harassing her.

“My only crime against her has been to call out her disinformation on my own personal social media and to report her deception regarding claiming credentials she did not have,” said Boyle. “I don’t see how anything I have done can be considered harassment and apparently neither do the Elko police as that police report went nowhere.”

Sirotek also filed a complaint against Kuhk with her local police department in October 2022, this time claiming that he was putting her children’s lives in danger. The police department and the Elko County District Attorney dismissed the claims, finding no evidence to support a criminal prosecution and concluding “there was nothing to substantiate any danger to the children,” according to a copy of the police report and other documents that were reviewed.

The harassment hasn’t let up, and in recent weeks, a person using an obviously fake name filed a complaint with Kuhk’s licensing board, making baseless allegations against him that closely echoed the claims Sirotek had been making for months online. The complaint even mentioned Sirotek by name.

Kuhk is still allowed to work while the complaint is investigated, and he ultimately believes the complaint will be dismissed as baseless, but the allegations have had a financial and emotional impact on him.

“I had to spend a lot of time getting character references and getting my legal documents together and sending a response to my board and now I play the waiting game, and hopefully they’re just gonna throw the complaint out, but this has taken hours of my life to deal with it,” Kuhk said.

Despite continuously spreading disinformation and harassing medical professionals, Sirotek continues to leverage her Facebook account, which has 33,000 followers, to boost her profile and solicit donations.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but experts believe that it and other tech companies need to do more to prevent the type of harassment that Kuhk and his fellow nurses have faced.

“They conduct these attacks with total impunity,” Smyser, from Shots Heard, said. “They like to claim victimhood, it’s a common refrain that’s part of their narrative that they’re being censored, that they’re being blocked by big tech and big government. But, there’s no program that I’m aware of in any social media company or any tech company that is built to protect health influencers or individuals or accounts that have been verified for transmitting accurate information.”


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