Celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge has spoken out in defence of his friend and My Kitchen Rules co-star Pete Evans.
The controversial personality raised eyebrows on social media earlier this week when he appeared to promote the idea that the coronavirus crisis is some kind of conspiracy.
Fassnidge spoke to The Briefing podcast on PodcastOne Australia this morning and was asked what he makes of Evans’ recent comments.
“Pete’s a mate of mine,” Fassnidge said. “We agree on some stuff and we don’t agree on other things. But, you know, it’s a free country and Pete’s allowed to say what he wants as long as he doesn’t harm anyone.”
He added: “Pete’s a mate of mine. You stand by your mates, that’s all I say.”
Channel 7 recently confirmed that it had parted ways with Evans, bringing to an end a 10-year working relationship.
The TV network said the split was amicable and industry insiders suggested it was a cost-cutting move with the network not wanting to renew Evans’ hefty $800,000 contract.
There are also whispers that Evans was let go because the future of My Kitchen Rules is in doubt after the latest season bombed in the ratings.
“The ratings weren’t very good but I don’t think that was down to anything about Pete,” Fassnidge said on The Briefing podcast.
Fassnidge’s comments come after Evans’ bizarre coronavirus conspiracy theory post on Instagram on Tuesday.
The embattled chef shared a detailed list which urged people to “look out for” certain code words and implied “mass trials” and “executions” were happening behind closed doors.
“Soon you will hear about certain high profile people (celebrities, politicians, executives, elite, billionaires) having CV (coronavirus),” Evans posted on social media. “Here are some code words to look out for.
“Self Quarantined = under house arrest either under Federal agent guards or ankle bracelet. Self Quarantined, CV exposure = detained and being questioned by authorities. Tested negative for CV = no confession so they are going to trial after world mass arrest. If convicted their reputation and legacy will be destroyed.
“Tested positive for CV = they confessed and taking a deal, their execution will be out of the public eye. Execution will be portrayed as a suicide or some sort of accidental death. Their reputation and legacy will be preserved.”
The list concluded: “Remember, these people are being arrested for major crimes against humanity. NO PITY.
“Pay very close attention for these code words in the media.”
The president of the Royal Australian College of GPs, Dr Harry Nespolon, described Evans’ post as “one of the oddest things I have ever read” and added that he was a “little bit keen to make sure Pete is actually with his family or with someone else”.
“If he really is in trouble, dare I say, he should make an appointment with his GP and I’m really quite serious about that,” Dr Nespolon told Ben Fordham on 2GB.
The top doctor said losing an $800,000 a year contract with Seven could be affecting his mental state and it’s important he feels included.
“It doesn’t matter what he has done in the past, it really is important that we do take care of him and that we reach out to him if there is a problem,” he said.
“He has just lost his job, or he has resigned from his job. That is a very stressful thing to have happened.”
While Evans’ recent Instagram activities have been causing a stir, the former MKR judge is certainly no stranger to controversy.
Just last month, he was slapped with $25,000 in fines for coronavirus eradication claims he made about a “BioCharger” device he promoted on Facebook.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued two infringement notices to the controversial health guru after receiving complaints about his promotion of the $14,990 machine.
In the April 9 livestream on his Facebook page, which has 1.4 million followers, Evans described the gadget as a “hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform”.
“It’s programmed with a thousand different recipes and there’s a couple in there for the Wuhan coronavirus,” Evans said in the video.