Celebrity chef Pete Evans has sparked anger among his many fans after sharing social media posts supporting US President Donald Trump amid ongoing violent protests in the US.
Evans has shared several posts on social media this week, including one of Mr Trump’s tweets that read: “The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy. As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS!”
“TRUTH @realdonaldtrump,” Evans captioned the screenshot.
“I invite you to question your beliefs no matter how strongly you hold them….or not.#thegreatawakening #unitedwestand.”
On a video of Mr Trump’s controversial White House address from Tuesday (Australian time) – in which the President threatened to bring in “thousands and thousands of heavily-armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers” to quell the “angry mob” that has raged across the US for more than a week – Evans simply left a heart emoji.
“Are you f–king serious, Pete Evans?” asked one of his 233,000 Instagram followers.
But Evans has also had plenty of support from fans, with many thanking the former My Kitchen Rules host for his “great intuition and critical-thinking skills”.
In turn, Evans thanked his followers.
“My intention is not to create division, but to create a platform for critical thought where many ideas can be presented.” he wrote in one Facebook post.
Evans is no stranger to controversy. In late April, he was fined $25,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for promoting an expensive “light machine” he said could treat the “Wuhan coronavirus”.
Early in May, he was dumped by the Seven Network as an MKR host – a role he had held for a decade. The split was reportedly “amicable”, and freed Evans to pursue his “alternative lifestyle” empire.
The day before that announcement, Evans had urged his followers to watch an interview with Holocaust denier David Icke, who was spouting 5G conspiracies and claiming COVID-19 was fake.
Later in May, there was a rash of social media posts in which Evans shared content about rumour-heavy links between the coronavirus and Bill Gates. The posts were swiftly removed, but not before they had been screenshot and shared widely.
Last week, Evans angered listeners with an appearance on radio’s Kyle and Jackie O Show, in which he aired controversial views about vaccination.
Hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson were also criticised for failing to challenge Evans when he shared debunked fears about a link between vaccines and autism.
“I believe in vaccines and I believe in safety of vaccines,” Evans told the duo.
“I think there are amazing vaccines out there, but it doesn’t seem to work for everybody. There seems to be people affected by it.”
Listeners were outraged – as were medical experts. RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said Mr Evans’ claims were troubling.
“Mr Evans may consider himself ‘pro-choice for medical freedom’ but the fact that his assertions were by all accounts barely challenged by the radio hosts makes this interview particularly problematic,” he said.
Dr Nespolon said providing such a platform had the potential to compromise public health.
Since the interview, Evans has reportedly threatened unspecified legal action.
“I feel like there is going to be some legal action that we are going to be looking at taking place, so stay tuned for that,” he said in an Instagram video posted on May 27.