My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans is no stranger to dividing audiences with his stance on health and diet and the star’s latest Instagram post may be his most controversial to date.
On Wednesday, the 46-year-old shared a podcast with his 207,000 Instagram followers, encouraging them to question the effectiveness of vaccines. Of course, the topic of immunisation has been a divisive one for some years. Most experts agree they protect against disease, while others claim vaccinations can result in a series of health problems.
“One of the most important podcasts to listen to,” Evans said, sharing a picture of Paul Chek’s Living 4D podcast. “Thanks @paul.chek for asking the questions that need to be asked about vaccines and medicine.”
Chek has spoken publicly many times about his disapproval of vaccines. In a 2017 post on his blog, the holistic health and fitness trainer claimed vaccines were “scary” because health professionals gave little thought to the “consequences and effects” when administered to children. The podcast shared by Evans included many more controversial claims by both Chek and Sherri Tenpenny – an American osteopathic physician and anti-vaccination activist.
During the podcast, Tenpenny claimed that no vaccines are safe.
“Should we be injecting toxic waste or foreign matter into people … that it’s supposed to keep you from getting an infection?” she asked. “But instead what it does is it causes you to get a disease. It’s not a medicine, it’s not, it isn’t. I think we can put that to bed.”
Both Chek and Tenpenny later talked about common vaccine injuries Tenpenny had come across. She claimed vaccines can cause death, sore arms, eczema, asthma, allergies, ADHD and other neurological complications and autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Tenpenny also claimed vaccinations could cause arthritis and mixed connective tissue disease.
“Yes, vaccines cause autism,” she added. “There are at least 57 studies now that have been proven and at least 50, I believe, closed court cases through the vaccine court that people were compensated because their child did get autism from the vaccine.
“In order to get the compensation, the people had to sign off and seal the document so nobody would know how much was paid and they would not ever be able to use that as a court precedent for further vaccine injury cases.”
However, according to Science Magazine the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program run by the Office of Special Masters of the US Court of Federal Claims, more commonly known as the vaccine court, has never compensated a petitioner claiming a vaccine caused autism.
Later in the podcast Tenpenny claimed “the pharmaceutical industry rules everybody in every country”, while Chek questioned whether medical staff were “modern prostitutes for scientists”.
Despite the controversial topic, it seemed most of Evans’ fans were in support of the anti-vax stances he was promoting.
One person said: “We are heading down a very slippery slope when parents are financially coerced into medical procedures and/or denied access to vital early learning opportunities for their children. When there is risk, there must be choice!”
Another comment read: “You are an amazing beacon of honesty & integrity. You showed your bravery in speaking out about Paleo. This takes you into a whole new dimension of firing line.”
A third added: “Truly inspirational individual you are mate. Love everything that you stand for. Love ALL of the content and information you share.”
Just last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged more than 21 million lives have been saved though measles immunisations since the year 2000, but there was a 30 per cent worldwide increase in cases between 2016 and 2017. Experts warned the huge spike could be in direct relation to the anti-vax movement and people spreading false news about the vaccine.
As for Evans, his latest Instagram post follows another controversial message he sent to fans in 2018, where he suggested gazing into the sun had health benefits.
Evans shared a photo of himself standing outside on a warm summer day looking up at the sun, something he claimed doing regularly.
“Everyday I love to immerse myself in an experience within the cleansing ocean water as well as a brief gaze into the radiant light of the early rising or late setting sun,” he wrote on the post. “These simple, yet powerful practices have got to be two of the best forms of free medicine on the planet for body, mind and spirit.”
However, AMA NSW wasn’t so keen on the idea and urged Aussies not to spend time sun gazing.
“We’re getting a little tired of saying this but: please don’t follow advice from Pete Evans,” a post on its Twitter page read. “Especially if he’s suggesting you ‘gaze’ at the sun.”