Australians have reacted in awe over a “wild” and controversial 60 Minutes segment spruiking celebrity chef Pete Evans and a former security guard trainer turned social media star over the proliferation of conspiracy theories about coronavirus.
A swath of Australian media identities, health professionals and viewers took to social media overnight to express their disbelief and anger at both Evans and 60 Minutes over the segment, which featured Evans and Fanos Panayides — “some dude from Epping” — who “gave up a job training security guards to set up an online group that now has 60,000 members”.
The group name includes the phrase, “it’s us or them”.
Evans has courted controversy in recent months for airing fringe views on 5G, vaccinations and coronavirus.
The segment used much of its time to spout the theories of the pair including reflecting on the time Evans spruiked a 15 thousand dollar Bio-charger lamp – which he claimed could help those with COVID-19. Evans has since been fined over the matter.
“I am sceptical. And I also am suspicious because history has shown us that, I mean, even science and you know, this as a fact, science has been bought by vested interests in so many different fields over the years,” Evans told journalist Liz Hayes.
“My intention is to inhabit a place of everything. So nothing is closed off, you know, and to be in that space, it means you’re allowed to ask questions from all sides.
Evans conceded he thought coronavirus existed but said he would refuse to be vaccinated against it once a cure is found.
Meanwhile Panayides said his journey of self discovery began when he was a 12-year-old boy.
“I remember I came into the house and my dad sat me down and he said, ‘There’s going to be a day in the future that you’re going to get told to put a microchip in you’.
“He goes, ‘Just listen to my words. When that day comes, don’t you dare put that thing in your body’.
“I’m quite sure that [he got it] from something called the Prophecy of St. John that he’d read.”
Fanos said he did not believe the coronavirus existed but was “probably a flu going around and getting people sick, but I believe the, the motives of the world at the moment doesn’t make sense at all”.
He blamed pictures of morgues and bodies in Italy and New York on “media manipulation”.
There was nothing in the segment to support either of their claims.
Among the high profile Australians to criticise Pete Evans and the segment include Derryn Hinch, who compared Pete’s “if I disappear” moment to Pauline Hanson’s infamous 1997 ‘voice from the graveyard’ interview.
Meanwhile, Evans has followed through on an earlier promise to post the full, unedited footage of his 60 Minutes interview, sharing it on YouTube at the exact same time as the segment started airing on Nine on Sunday night.
In an Instagram post pointing his followers to his YouTube video, Evans explained his decision to share the unedited footage of the interview: “We don’t have free to air TV so I will not be watching 60 Minutes tonight I trust they will do a wonder filled story of hope and love and bringing the community together to evolve through this period … Enjoy the show and I invite you down the rabbit hole with me.”
The My Kitchen Rules judge turned conspiracy theorist Evans had revealed to his followers he had a plan in place if he was unhappy with his portrayal on 60 Minutes.