Publisher Pan Macmillian has announced it is “finalising” its relationship with Pete Evans, after the former celebrity chef shared a cartoon on social media that included a neo-Nazi symbol known as the Black Sun.
In a statement this afternoon, the publisher wrote that it “does not support the recent posts made by Pete Evans”.
“Those views are not our views as a company or the views of our staff. Pan Macmillian is currently finalising its contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward,” the statement read.
“If any retailer wishes to return Pete Evans’ books please contact Pan Macmillian.”
Dymocks Australia promptly followed suit, with the book retailer tweeting that they “are in the process of removing his books from our website and have advised our stores to return their stock as offered by the publisher”.
The announcement came after Evans – who, in a further twist, has reportedly signed on for the next season of Channel 10’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! – offered “sincere apologies to anyone who has misinterpreted a previous post of a caterpillar and a butterfly having a chat over a drink and perceived that I was promoting hatred”.
“I look forward to studying all of the symbols that have never existed and research them thoroughly before posting. Hopefully this symbol (heart emoji) resonates deeply into the hearts of ALL! (heart emoji),” he wrote, alongside a picture of a rainbow coloured heart.
Pan Macmillian were the latest to react to Evans’ controversial social media posts, with a Melbourne GP who called Evans a “f***ing idiot” doubling down on his comments as more doctors weighed in.
Dr Vyom Sharma, a GP and medical commentator, tweeted that Evans “is the literal Merriam Webster dictionary definition of ‘f***ing idiot” after the ex-My Kitchen Rules star suggested that coronavirus doesn’t exist.
Evans’ latest controversy came when he told a video interviewer that people don’t spread COVID-19.
“Is that what we’ve come here to do? Do we have the belief in ourselves that we’re contagious, that we are spreaders of something?” Evans asked.
“I choose not to believe in that narrative because it doesn’t make any sense to me.”
The interviewer then asked Evans if he was concerned that his choice to ignore medical advice could spread the virus to more vulnerable people.
After scoffing and snorting, Evans replied: “It doesn’t spread the virus.”
Dr Sharma was among thousands of Victorians who rejected the claims on social media – a mass of tweets that saw Pete Evans trending again on Twitter.
“‘I choose not to believe that narrative because it doesn’t make any sense to me’ – that is the literal Merriam Webster dictionary definition of ‘f***ing idiot’,” Dr Sharma posted with a link back to the original video on Sunday.
“Einstein’s theory of special relativity makes no sense to me.
“But I believe the narrative because I know there are people out there who are smarter than me, and know more things. And hence I rely on my GPS when driving.”
He has since gone further with those comments.
“I’ve reflected on my comments. I stand by them, but they miss a more consequential point,” he wrote.
“Yes he’s a f***ing idiot. But that’s not a moral failing.
“He sells $15K cures for an ailment, then pivots to claiming it’s a hoax, based entirely on self interest.”
The $15,000 cure Dr Sharma is referring to is the BioCharger, a device Evans was flogging on his social media channels that he claimed could be used to treat “Wuhan coronavirus”.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration fined him $25,000 for livestreaming the baseless claims to his 1.4 million followers.
The Federal Government’s regulatory body wrote in its assessment that Evans had shared “a claim which has no apparent foundation, and which the TGA takes extremely seriously”.
On Sunday, more doctors voiced their opinions about Evans’ claims and how he uses social media to spread misinformation.
Fellow Melbourne GP, Dr Brad McKay, wrote on Twitter: “Pete Evans used his celebrity status to create a large social media following.
“He encouraged his fans to protect themselves from Coronavirus by huddling around an expensive fluorescent light, whilst also discounting the virus as a hoax. Please ask your friends to unfollow him.”
Dr Pieter Peach, an anaesthesiologist from Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, wrote: “Behaviour like this by influential celebrities needs to be called out.”
Dr Simon Gibbs, who is director of the Victorian and Tasmanian Amyloidosis Service and a haematologist, wrote: “There are many, many doctors who agree with Dr Sharma but are prevented from saying as much because of social media clauses in their contract with private and public hospitals.
“Pete Evans says he has a $15,000 machine that ‘cures COVID’ but doesn’t believe the virus exists,” he wrote.
Instead of bunkering down amid the backlash, Evans shared this cartoon.
When it was pointed out to Evans that he had shared a symbol from Nazi Germany and some occult subcultures, such as Satanism, the chef best known for sharing his paleo diet wisdom responded: “I was waiting for someone to see that”.
– With Alex Turner Cohen