opinion

OPINION: Now that Pete Evans has lost his day job, we're finding out what he really thinks.

I imagine there are a lot of confused people among Pete Evans‘ social media audience right now.

They’d be the ones who hit ‘follow’ during a My Kitchen Rules ad break, or after their teenager announced they are ‘going paleo’. Or perhaps they stumbled across his name after googling ‘what are activated almonds?’

These men and women would be noticing that, over the past few weeks, the chef has been increasingly abandoning shots of delicious food and his own gleaming white teeth, in favour of political commentary and, frankly, alarming theories about COVID-19.

Watch: Pete Evans had to defend himself over a bone broth recipe for babies.

Video by Mamamia

Among them, a post on his Instagram stories that claims we’ll soon see media articles about celebrities being diagnosed with coronavirus, but secret “code words” will reveal the truth. (More on that later.)

Yes, Pete Evans is finally free to say what he wants, and he’s letting loose. Way loose.

Recently sacked from his reported $800,000-a-year contract with Channel 7, the former judge/host of cooking competition show My Kitchen Rules is now able to spout his baseless theories without incurring the wrath of a publicity team or network management.

He managed to get a few by them during his decade-long association. You can read a full list here, but highlights include his dangerous suggestions that bone broth is a viable alternative to baby formula and that looking directly into the setting sun is one of “the best forms of free medicine”.

The Spill podcast goes inside Pete Evans’ breakup with Channel 7.

Perhaps Evans’ most infamous claim came in April when he promoted a $23,000 light machine (available for sale through his website) as a treatment for coronavirus. That Instagram video earned him a tongue-lashing from the Australian Medical Association and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, along with a $25,200 fine from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

This is a man with no qualifications in medicine, pharmacological science or dietetics.

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This is a chef.

And right now, he’s at risk of becoming more dangerous than ever.

With no one’s reputation on the line but his own, Evans has stepped well beyond even his usual alternative health and wellness remit into the dark realm of global conspiracies. And he’s dragging his followers with him.

In the days since he was sacked by Seven, Evans has published several bizarre posts, including this Instagram story.

This has many trademarks of a conspiracy theory that's sprung up recently claiming US President Donald Trump is in charge of an investigation into a global pedophile ring involving political and Hollywood elites.

Evans' post alleges that the media will mask the arrests of "certain high-profile people" for "major crimes against humanity" by reporting they have been forced to isolate due to coronavirus.

Yep.

He also recently posted a link to a video in which British conspiracy theorist David Icke refers to the current health crisis as “a fake pandemic with no virus” and ties COVID-19 infections to 5G antennas. (If that name sounds familiar, that's likely because he's the man who alleged that the world is secretly run by giant, shape-shifting lizards.)

On his Instagram feed, where comments are visible, Evans has stuck with his usual tactic of presenting his controversial theories as questions or vague possibilities. But even those are straying into murkier territory.

There was the flowchart that purports to show financial ties between The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, government health organisations and pharmaceutical companies. (Bill Gates is a popular target among conspiracy theorists who suggest he's looking to profit off a COVID-19 vaccine.)

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“If you thought multinational food ties to health authorities was interesting, this could be a whole other level,” Evans wrote.

And the Trump meme, in which he encouraged followers to rethink their reliance on mainstream media, and tossed in "What is #Obamagate?" at the end.

The hashtag was a feature of US President Donald Trump's Twitter tirade last week, after his predecessor Barack Obama described his handling of the coronavirus response as “an absolute chaotic disaster”.

Trump hit back by accusing Obama of "treason" and claiming the Democrat used his final weeks in office to sabotage the incoming Trump administration.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This may be a great time to take off the mainstream media lens, if that is what you have been viewing the world through, and perhaps look through a different lens....or not. The choice is, and has always been yours. It may be very difficult for some, especially when long held beliefs may be challenged. I have personally seen what the mainstream media have “attempted” to do with me over the years even when my only intention, has always been to encourage people to think and feel deeply and freely about the many pillars of health, including self Love, and to question everything....even what I share. This is a very exciting time in human history and we can all manifest our own reality, or we can hand that over to others with their own agendas or conflicts of interests. Do you trust the ‘experts’? ✌️????❤️???? what is #obamagate ?

A post shared by Pete Evans (@chefpeteevans) on

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Perhaps most delicious of all Evans' recent posts, though, was the one about Science Minister Karen Andrews' announcement that a vaccine could be 10-15 months away.

After railing against authorities for not providing information about ways to naturally boost the immune system, he wrote, "are any of these ministers qualified health professionals?"

Can you taste the irony?

Much of Evans' new content has landed on a like-minded audience, many of whom praised him for finally revealing the true extent of his worldview.

Some comments on the Trump post: "I can't believe I haven't known of your voice in this arena until last night." "Love this. Good on you for being so brave". "Thanks Pete for always speaking the truth. You started my whole awakened journey when you first introduced the paleo way. Drip by drip!"

Then there are the poor souls who came for the food content but suddenly found themselves in a Twitter wormhole trying to decipher what Obama, Trump and mainstream media have to do with Pete Evans' efforts to promote "the many pillars of health".

Some other comments on the Trump post: "I really don't wanna see this, I'm expecting food post or recipe." "'By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.' - [Richard] Dawkins." "Pete you’re going nuts, buddy."

Of course, Evans has every right to share his ideas and encourage debate.

But if we're following it, we must always keep in mind that this is a man who a) has a history of presenting false and potentially harmful ideas as fact, and b) suddenly has far less to lose.

I mean, after just a few days, we're already getting a pretty clear snapshot of the unshackled version Pete Evans. And it's a hell of a long way from paleo, MKR and activated almonds.

Maybe he's better off back on telly after all...

Feature image: Instagram.

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