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Joe Bob Briggs reveals he had COVID-19. Here’s why he didn’t tell anyone

The host of 'The Last Drive-In' said he struggled with the virus months ago, while also facing major backlash from fans.

Back in May, The Last Drive-In host Joe Bob Briggs became a major talking point in the horror film community — and not in a good way. Briggs, also known as the author and former Dallas Times Herald journalist John Bloom, was facing accusations of homophobia and racism. The criticism stemmed from articles he wrote for a right-wing website, Takimag, including pieces that challenged the merits of the LGBTQ acronym and argued for the “need” to listen to white supremacist speakers.

Last week, Briggs reluctantly revealed that he had coronavirus while facing the online blowback, though he kept his condition private at the time.

“You have to tell people that you had COVID,” said Diana Prince, known as co-host Darcy the Mail Girl on The Last Drive-In, during Thursday’s episode of her own podcast, Geek Tawk, which featured Briggs as a guest.

“When all that controversy was going down on Twitter, you wanted me to tell people that I had coronavirus,” Briggs responded. “But I could still be at my computer and answer those emails and things. It was not like I was on a ventilator.”

The backlash against Briggs also came shortly after Dallas filmmaker Adam Donaghey was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a minor. Donaghey had worked on several projects with Dallas-based movie company Cinestate, whose chief executive, Dallas Sonnier, also owns horror film magazine Fangoria and the now-defunct website Rebeller. Briggs was writing for both publications, but resigned after Donaghey’s arrest.

“I thought it was an automatic death sentence for someone in your age bracket,” Prince told Briggs on her podcast. “I heard you. You couldn’t breathe and you were in so much pain. You were not yourself, it was sad to hear you, and I was crying constantly and so scared that I would never see you again, and everybody was piling on you.”

“Many people have had it and most of them were worse off than me,” Briggs said. “I wish everybody thought it was a death sentence, because then everyone would wear the [expletive] mask and we would get rid of it.”

Prince admitted that it was difficult to act normal during the second season of The Last Drive-In, which ended on June 19. “I was so fed up with all the people being so mean to you and then so worried about you,” she said. “And I had to be like, ‘Yay! Let’s watch [expletive] Heathers’ or whatever, like I give a [expletive] right now.”

“We can’t make this show about us,” Briggs said. “This show is about those movies. We’re the oasis, we’re the place where you come to not worry about stuff like that.”

After hosting horror film shows like Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater and MonsterVision in ’80s and ’90s, Briggs broke the internet when he revisited the format with The Last Drive-In on Shudder in 2018. Season three will air next year.

Briggs is also a consulting producer for the upcoming limited series Candy, which is based on the life of North Texas killer Candy Montgomery.

Find more movie-related stories from The Dallas Morning News here.

Find the latest news on coronavirus from The Dallas Morning News here.

Jeremy Hallock, Special Contributor. Jeremy Hallock is a Dallas freelance writer.

artslife@dallasnews.com
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