This claim comes from Indian scholar, journalist and veteran political commentator Madhav Das Nalapat. He is a professor of geopolitics at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
On a June 3 appearance with local media outlet NewsX, Nalapat talked about how Fauci's trustworthiness needed to be scrutinized in light of his recently released emails. These emails were released to the public after mainstream media outlets in the United States accessed them through Freedom of Information Act requests. (Related: Fauci emails reveal: The "natural origin theory" was coordinated propaganda, crafted by the very scientists who engineered the virus.)
Some of the information highlighted in the released emails include the fact that Fauci was informed by scientists that the coronavirus could have been engineered in a lab. Despite being presented with this information, Fauci continued to discredit the lab leak theory as a conspiracy.
The emails also reveal that Fauci helped funnel grant money paid for with taxpayer funds for gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Gain-of-function research involves engineering pathogens to make them more transmissible or otherwise more dangerous to humans.
Nalapat said Fauci's funding of the WIV and his denial of the lab leak theory points to a massive cover-up. He added that anybody who attempted to disagree with Fauci's support for the natural origin theory was quickly silenced.
"Any scientist who spoke up was strictly warned that, 'Look here, you are going to have your career destroyed.'" said Nalapat.
Nalapat did not name which scientists and health experts were threatened into silence. But he said during his appearance at NewsX that he knows of several persons based in the U.S. and Japan who could not speak out against Fauci.
"Friends in the United States and Japan extensively briefed me that [the natural origin theory] is complete bunkum," he said.
"Then I asked them, 'What's wrong with you guys? Why are you silent?' But they said, 'If we speak out, Dr. Fauci and his gang will destroy us, will destroy our reputations, will destroy our careers. We do not dare to speak out.'"
In a later tweet from his personal account, Nalapat once again criticized Fauci. He said: "As yet those who participated in such suicidal 'gain-of-function' experiments have escaped even censure much less punishment."
Nalapat is far from alone in claiming that Fauci has silenced his critics.
Journalist and political analyst Josh Rogin revealed that scientists informed him that they were prohibited from contradicting any of Fauci's statements.
"I often talk to scientists who say the same thing, who say, 'Listen, we really want to speak out about this, but we can't do it. Why can't we do it? Well, we get all of our funding from NIH, or NIAID," said Rogin. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"So we can't say anything like, 'Oh, gain-of-function research might be dangerous, or it might have come from a lab, because we're going to lose our careers, we're going to lose our funding, we're not going to be able to do the work.'"
Rogin made these comments during an appearance on the podcast of journalist and television news anchor Megyn Kelly.
Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2018 until 2021, publicly claimed that he received multiple death threats after he said he believed COVID-19 escaped from the WIV.
In comments made to the magazine Vanity Fair, Redfield said the death threats came from other prominent members of the American scientific community.
"I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis," Redfield explained. "I expected it from politicians. I didn't expect it from science."
Fauci has denied downplaying the lab leak theory. During an event with the Wall Street Journal, Fauci said that what he believed to be far-fetched was the idea that Chinese scientists deliberately engineered the coronavirus.
He also said he still supports the natural origin theory, while "at the same time I'm keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak."
Learn more about how Fauci and other people in America attempted to discredit the lab leak theory before it became a mainstream theory by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.