Australian tennis champ Pat Cash has copped a broadside on social media after sharing a link to a movie about a COVID conspiracy theory.
“It’s finally out,” the 1987 Wimbledon champion wrote on a Twitter post in which he shared a link to the movie Plandemic: Indoctrination, which promotes a debunked theory about how the origins of the coronavirus.
“Be informed – make up your own mind,” he wrote in a post that has since been deleted.
The film, which promotes itself as “the most important documentary you will ever see”, alleges that the virus strain that has ravaged the world was created by leading US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci as part of a conspiracy with the rich and powerful. It also claims that masks are harmful and will activate the virus.
The film has also won the backing of former celebrity chef Pete Evans, who has promoted it via his Facebook page. Evans, who has given his support to a host of virus conspiracy theories, was fined $25,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration earlier in 2020 for spruiking an expensive “light machine” he said could treat the “Wuhan coronavirus”.
The condemnation of Cash’s backing of the film was swift. Among those to react was Christos Kyrgios, the older brother of Australian tennis star Nick, who called the post “dangerous, dangerous content”.
Others also weighed in, telling Cash to “stop peddling this rubbish”. Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Nikki Stamp said Cash was “putting people’s lives at risk” by spreading such misinformation.
Biomedical scientist Dr Darren Saunders also joined in, tweeting: “Your headband is too tight champ, it’s cutting off circulation to your brain”.
Cash’s tweet backing the film was posted on Wednesday night, and gone by Thursday morning. But he followed it up with another, comparing the damage wrought in the US by COVID-19 to lives lost to cigarette smoking.
That also brought a strong reaction. One of the first was from retired Australian tennis champ Rennae Stubbs, who now lives in New York City.
“Pat, you should delete this tweet. I know too many people that didn’t ask for this virus and some even died,” she wrote.
“[It’s a] little different when people are volunteering to put smoke in their own lungs. That decision is theirs and they obviously pay the price for it.”
Stubbs’ reply won broad applause from Twitter followers.
“Bravo! Sometimes people need to stop talking about things they aren’t educated to talk about. He’s barely qualified to talk tennis at this point,” wrote one fan.