Pete Evans, celebrity chef, Paleo diet promoter, and 2015 winner of the Australian Skeptics’ Bent Spoon award, can’t understand why the Australian Medical Association thinks he’s irresponsible and putting people’s health at risk by exercising his “wilful arrogance” in “mischievously questioning medical advice”.
“Well well well,” he said, following a barrage of criticism from the AMA and others. “The AMA has once again tweeted that I am putting people’s lives at risk….WHY?”
Evans appeared on Channel 7’s Sunday Night program to “set the record straight”, and was immediately blasted over Twitter by the AMA itself and by the organisation’s federal vice-president, Tony Bartone.
The AMA tweeted “Pete Evans putting his fans’ health at risk with extreme advice on diet, fluoride, calcium. Celebrity chef shouldn’t dabble in medicine.” Bartone chipped in with “Wilful arrogance mischievously questioning medical advice. Decades scientific research. Celebrities putting health at risk.”
On the Sunday Night interview Evans asked “What do you need a qualification for to talk common sense? Why do you have to study something that is outdated, that is industry-backed, that is biased, that is not getting the results?
“That would be insane to study something that you’re gonna waste your time with? That’s just crazy, it’s just crazy.
“Why are doctors experts in fluoride and what are their qualifications to be up to date with the neurotoxins that fluoride is? I would send them the information if they ask. There is a mountain of information.”
When questioned by Sunday Night interviewer Alex Cullen about the sources of his claims, Evans responded: “You’re a journalist, you should be doing the research yourself.”
In response to the AMA tweets, he asked via Facebook: “Is the AMA in the pockets of the pharmaceutical industries and are they in the business of helping people get healthy?”
The AMA wasn’t the only one to criticise Evans. The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the peak body for indigenous health, branded Evans “the kitchen’s Pauline Hanson”.
Evans has been heavily criticised for a range of statements on medicine, heath, and diet, including his anti-vax and anti-fluoride stances, his suggestions that dairy products draw calcium out of bones, his comments claiming that most sunscreen lotions are toxic, and his promotion of bone broth for babies (which led to his latest diet book being pulped).
AMA President Michael Gannon told Sky News that Evans is “an opinion leader. And when it comes to things like the importance of adding fluoride to the water in those parts of Australia where there’s not the natural levels of fluoride to protect teeth, when it comes to some of his comments about nutrition and about important dietary sources of calcium, and now he’s dipped a toe in the water when it comes to vaccination, he needs to be more responsible.
“He’s got some fairly flaky ideas. We know some of the people he communicates with, in terms of his so-called sources.
“He should stick to the pearl couscous and the scientists can stick to pertussis”.
On the same Channel 7 interview, Evans’ wife, Nicola Robinson, insisted that he isn’t “a whack job”, and Evans himself admitted that he suffered from “crippling” shyness.
“I was a really shy kid. It’s been something that’s been with me all my life. Even now, I like to keep a low profile, believe it or not.”
It might be hard to believe, but it would definitely be better for everyone if he did keep a low profile.