Next month Australians will part with their hard-earned money to see an American named David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe speak about health, nutrition and natural healing.
The self-proclaimed “rock star and Indiana Jones of the superfoods and longevity universe” is scheduled to host seminars in Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay, Perth and Gold Coast, with a full-day ticket starting from $220.
But there’s a problem.
Littered among the inspirational memes and dietary advice the 46-year-old (who reportedly uses avocado in his name due to his love of raw food) peddles to his fiercely loyal fan base, is a dangerous message: that parents should not vaccinate their children.
They’re not safe, he argues on his website; in fact, “they can injure, permanently maim, or even kill you or a family member”.
He is a strong believer that vaccines cause autism, a message he has routinely pushed out to his 10.1 million Facebook followers, despite having no medical qualifications and there being no scientifically established link between the two.
For pro-vaccination campaigners like Catherine Hughes, founder of the Light for Riley campaign and the Immunisation Foundation of Australia, Wolfe’s tour is troubling, to say the least.
“I’ve had many parents contact me in the last week concerned that David Wolfe is being given a platform to mislead Australian parents about the importance of vaccination,” Hughes told Mamamia.
“Although some may recognise his name from well-known inspirational memes, he has been responsible for spreading dangerous health misinformation to millions of followers.”
Hughes, who lost her little boy, Riley, to whooping cough in 2015 at just 32 days old, is urging the venues hosting his seminars to consider whether Wolfe’s ideology is something they’re comfortable being associated with.
“I think the venues hosting Wolfe have an obligation to public health and safety, and he is using their venues to potentially cause harm to Australians,” she said.
“And with vaccination fear-mongering, unfortunately it is often the innocent – like little babies who are too young to be vaccinated – who suffer from lowered vaccination rates.”
This dangerous anti-vaccination message is just one of the eyebrow-raising theories Wolfe has spouted in the past.
To start with, he has argued that the earth is flat. Those pictures of the earth taken from space? They're "not real" - just composite images fabricated by NASA.
He's also shared memes that claim solar panels are "draining the sun", that the light they absorb is "lost forever".
The problem is the vast majority of Wolfe's social media presence and the posts for which he has become known are far more innocuous: they spout lovely sentiments like "If you can't be kind, be quiet" and "Don't worry if people don't like you. They are struggling to like themselves."
Catherine Hughes argues that it is these posts that lure millions to his page, millions to whom he can then slip in his dangerous philosophies.
"Some of his memes are lovely and inspiring, but don't be fooled," she told Mamamia. "He is a 'Wolfe' in sheep's clothing."