Celebrity chef Pete Evans is blaming Wi-Fi for health issues in his latest unconventional claim, telling followers he protects his family from electromagnetic fields at home.
The Paleo diet leader has also sprung to the defence of his friend, ABC TV’s Catalyst journalist Dr Maryanne Demasi, who has been suspended over her controversial “Wi-Fried” episode that aired earlier this year.
The show was found to have breached editorial standards by favouring claims Wi-Fi causes health problems and giving little airtime to the scientific consensus that there’s no evidence of harm.
Last night, the TV chef posted a message on his Facebook page encouraging his 1.5 million followers to back a campaign imploring the ABC to reinstate Dr Demasi. Pete has previously appeared on an episode she fronted about low-carb diets.
“Maryanne is a journalist that is willing to tell the truth to help let Australians make wiser choices with the information she thoroughly investigates and shares,” he writes. “I am proud to call her my friend, and what is happening to her at the moment is unfair on so many levels.”
The Channel 7 My Kitchen Rules host waded into the Wi-Fi issue after making headlines last week by claiming regular sunscreen is full of “poisonous chemicals” and saying he generally goes into the sun without it or, during prolonged exposure, using a non-TGA approved skin product called Surf Mud (his claims about sunscreens were first exposed by The Weekly in a feature last year.
Anti-vaccination claims have been posted on his Facebook page by some followers this week - although Pete did not post his personal views on this issue.
After a question on Pete’s opinion on children being vaccinated went unanswered, a follower called Katie wrote in reply, “I doubt you’ll get a response on that. [Pete] would know full well how vilified people get for speaking out against vaccines (even though there are damn good reasons to), so I think he’d be smart enough to stay away from that topic - for now anyway.”
In an interview with Fairfax Media last year, the TV chef reportedly suggested more research was needed into childhood vaccinations and autism. Ironically, childhood vaccines have been subject to an uncommonly large amount of research because of a fraudulent and now retracted 1998 study linking MMR to autism.
Pete has previously suggested the official Australian Dietary Guidelines have contributed to a rise in autism in children - a claim dismissed as unfounded by medical experts.
He has also expressed anti-fluoride views and one of his cookbooks includes claims that a Paleo diet can help with various health conditions, including “cancer remissions/tumour shrinkage”.
In a Q&A session on his Facebook page earlier this week, Pete Evans wrote “EMFS [electromagnetic fields] are causing a lot of issues for people” in response to a follower’s question about whether he would be making public “the dangers of Wi-Fi in our schools and houses”.
“We...turn off Wi-Fi at night at home and have our house EMF friendly,” he wrote. “If people have not educated themselves on this yet, then I urge them to do so as well. EMFS are causing a lot of issues for people.”
When it first emerged Dr Demasi had been suspended last week, Pete wrote, “SO SAD! One of our most professional and courageous journalists that we have in our country, Maryanne Demasi, has just been suspend [sic] from her job for sharing the TRUTH.”
Pete appeared on a Catalyst episode by Dr Demasi about low carb diets in 2014. During the program, he claimed coconut oil was a source of monounsaturated fats: a claim that the ABC later corrected. Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat and contains little monounsaturated fat.
A controversial report on statins by Dr Demasi in 2013 also provoked heavy criticism from the medical and scientific community and was later found to have breached standards on impartiality.