Controversial chef Pete Evans has been dropped by the Ten Network and his long-time book publisher amid a storm of controversy after he posted a meme to social media that featured a neo-Nazi symbol known as the Black Sun.
The Facebook post was enough for Pan Macmillan, which had published 15 books by Evans, to cut ties with the former My Kitchen Rules host.
By Tuesday morning, Channel 10 had followed suit and dumped Evans as host of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, for which he had only just been reportedly confirmed as a contestant in the new season.
“Network 10 can confirm that Pete Evans will not be appearing on this season of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!” a Ten spokesperson told news.com.au early on Tuesday.
The paleo advocate has since removed the post in question, which showed the Black Sun symbol on the wing of a seated, black butterfly.
The symbol appeared on the floor at Germany’s Wewelsburg Castle, which Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler transformed into a cult site used to instil the hateful ideologies of Adolf Hitler into the minds of SS officers.
The Black Sun symbol also appeared on the backpack of the Christchurch mosque shooter.
When a Facebook user commented that “the symbol of the butterfly is a representation of the black sun”, Evans wrote back “I was waiting for someone to see that”.
He later posted an apology, saying people had “misrepresented” the photo.
“Sincere apologies to anyone who misinterpreted a previous post of a caterpillar and a butterfly having a chat over a drink and perceived that I was promoting hatred,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I look forward to studying all of the symbols that have ever existed and research them thoroughly before posting.”
With the apology, Evans posted a picture of a big colourful heart in the hopes that it would resonate “deeply into the hearts of ALL”, he wrote.
But it was all too late for Pan Macmillan, which released a statement that said it did not support his recent posts and that it would be ending their contractual relationship.
“Those views are not our views as a company or the views of our staff,” the statement read.
It continued: “Pan Macmillan is currently finalising it’s contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward.
“If any retailer wishes to return Pete Evans’ books please contact Pan Macmillian.”
Bookstore Dymocks announced on Twitter it was removing Evans’ books from its website and had “advised our stores to return their stock as offered by the publisher”.
Evans’ latest post also sparked criticism online, with GP and medical commentator adding to his earlier comments with a simple: “f—ing unreal”.
Musician Ben Lee also criticised the Ten Network.
“Absolutely not, Channel 10,” he tweeted. “No airtime for a guy who is using his platform to brainwash and radicalise his audience.”
Evans was announced as the host of Ten’s I’m A Celebrity … only on Monday. The show’s producers reportedly held crisis talks this week before announcing on Tuesday that he had been cut.