Everyone knows a Pete Evans.

There's a girl I went to school with.

She doesn't think you should be wearing a facemask. 

She uses words like 'biodiversification' and 'sheeple' and 'plandemic' and keeps telling her followers to "just wait..." although it's unclear what for. 

She writes in riddles and uses emojis. A unicorn. A rainbow. An eye. Her followers seem to understand what she's saying. I don't. 

Stories she shares and theories she promulgates are missing significant details. Links she provides take me to websites I've never heard of with spelling errors and no capital letters, perpetuating myths that have been disproven time and time again. 

She replies to anyone who questions her. Doctors. Scientists. Journalists. "Do your research" she says ominously. As though she's shrugging her shoulders with an air of confidence. You'll see. 

Pete Evans speaks to 60 Minutes. Post continues below.

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She doesn't speak to you. Or listen to you. She explains to you. Like a child who needs to be stepped through the theory of gravity. Except she's saying that the sky is green and it looks blue to me and down is up and up is down and excuse me but when are we allowed to ask some questions?

The more evidence you provide, the more she says things like, "that's convenient" and "that's what the mainstream media wants you to believe" and "look a little more closely" but the closer I look, the more I see the mainstream media telling the same story because it's the true story. Anyone held to a standard of ethics, or subject to peer review, is largely in agreement. About COVID. About the election. About vaccines. About climate change. 

And then there is the girl I went to school with.

She's telling me to keep an open mind and to question authority but she appears to believe everything a 20-year-old YouTuber told her about fluoride. 

And then there are those documentaries that don't exist on any reputable streaming service. And voices who can't find on a 'mainstream' platform. And books that are self-published because no publishing house will touch them. Is it a conspiracy? Or could it be because the so-called Mainstream Media have the money to fact-check? That they'll be sued for providing a platform for misinformation in a way that the girl I went to school with won't?


But child sex abuse within the Catholic Church was a conspiracy theory once! Cigarettes causing cancer! The crimes of Jeffrey Epstein and nuclear testing and poisoning alcohol during Prohibition!

There's no doubt that power has been used to obscure the truth. 

But you know who the whistle-blowers were? The media, mostly. Journalists. Academics. Lawyers. Not some hack on Facebook who heard something once that landed them in an internet rabbit hole. 

There's one difference between that girl from school and Pete Evans. 


When Evans decides to go on a tangent about how homeopathy can cure COVID, along with putting your masks in the bin and giving everyone a hug, he reaches 1.5 million people. 

Any rational person can sniff the profound hypocrisy. 

Evans positions himself as a freedom fighter, spreading love and knowledge, while supporting thinkers like David Icke, a Holocaust denier.

Think for yourself, he demands. "If the media says it... then think the opposite," he tells his followers. Until, of course, the media aligns with him. In which case he'll share the article in a heartbeat and demand you absorb it as evidence. 

The reason the likes of Pete Evans get so under our skin is because he's familiar. He's the girl we went to school with and our uncle and our hairdresser. 

We're accused of being conformists because we believe, ultimately, that not all opinions are equal. 

My mum's theory about my bad hip doesn't hold the same weight as a physio. My dad's theory about that weird sound my car is making doesn't hold the same weight as a mechanic. 

It feels like they're laughing at the rest of us. A bunch of conformists. Not an original thought in our heads. They think they're virtuous and courageous and we are not. 

They want to know why we're so afraid of free speech. 

The concern is that unfettered free speech can lead us to dark places. Where people drop dead because they didn't believe COVID could kill them. Where a celebrity chef can swindle $15,000 off people for a treatment that doesn't work. Where a president can say that any vote against him doesn't count. Where the Holocaust can be denied and minorities can be persecuted. 

The girl I went to school with only has a few hundred followers. A handful of people engage with her conspiracy theories. 

That's where Pete Evans belongs. He isn't a truth teller. Or a freedom fighter. 

He's the girl I went to high school with, except he happens to have a platform. 

And until that platform disappears, we will have a man stuck in an internet rabbit hole, making bogus claims that could be the difference between life and death.