Celeb anti-vaxxers back NRL flu fighter’s stance
Former Home and Away actor Isabel Lucas and former My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans have rallied behind NRL player Bryce Cartwright, after he was stood down from the league for refusing to get a flu vaccination.
The public support comes after Lucas was dropped as a charity ambassador last month after posting eyebrow-raising comments about coronavirus vaccines online and Evans finished up his $800,000 MKR contract with Channel 7 after sharing his own controversial views.
Lucas thanked Cartwright for his "courage" on social media after he defended his decision not to get a flu shot.
"THANK YOU. We are so grateful to you speaking up for this basic human right - freedom of choice. We are backing you. Keep standing for #prochoice. You are so courageous," she wrote on Instagram.
She recently came under fire for a social media post that read, "I don't trust the path of vaccination".
Meanwhile Evans, who was fined $25,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for promoting a "light machine" that he claimed could treat COVID-19, shared four heart emojis in support of Cartwright.
"Giving us the ultimatum of get the shot or be stood down is coercion … I won't be bullied into making decisions that could impact my health and the health of my family," Cartwright wrote.
Evans recently called for freedom of speech amid ongoing backlash.
"How many times in history have the 'authorities' got it wrong (robbing land from indigenous peoples and taking their lives, cigarettes, asbestos, low fat and so on," he wrote online.
The father-of-two is no stranger to criticism after once claiming sunscreen is dangerous and contains poisonous chemicals. His 2017 Netflix documentary The Magic Pill also claims people suffering from illnesses like diabetes, cancer and autism can reduce symptoms and reliance on prescription drugs by adopting a specific diet for just five weeks.
Australian surfing champion Taj Burrow was also criticised for saying coronavirus vaccines are "not needed" and one media expert has warned that celebrities who publicise such views risk career suicide.
"People with a profile are best placed to tread carefully when voicing divisive opinions, particularly if they are not a qualified expert in the topic area," said Nicole Reaney of InsideOut Public Relations.
"Their profile makes them an easy target to encounter adverse media and social backlash. When they are tied to an organisation this also makes them vulnerable to that organisation taking action in order to sever ties as a means to protect their own brand and deflect any association to the comment.
"A single misaligned comment can cause a ripple effect of damage to a personal brand."
Originally published as Celeb anti-vaxxers back NRL flu fighter's stance