Evans told: ‘Hang your head in shame’
Controversial TV personality and chef Pete Evans has been blasted for "completely unacceptable" comments made about a top doctor who died from pancreatic cancer.
Dr Harry Nespolon was the President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners when he died in July, aged 57.
According to the RACGP, he died in his sleep nine months after his cancer diagnosis.
When Mr Evans was axed by Channel 7 in May, Dr Nespolon questioned the former My Kitchen Rules judge's mental health in a radio interview.
Speaking on a Facebook Live on Friday, Evans - who has been outspoken about alternative medical treatments since leaving Channel 7 - addressed his death.
"It's very sad what happened to that gentleman and I wish it never happened," Evans said in the Facebook live video, held over Zoom and posted on Friday.
"But when you have people in positions of power or experts in their chosen field of medicine, that still do not know how to deal with disease and illness, that still succumb to these diseases and illnesses yet they are the experts in these chosen industries may speak volumes."
He emphasised "may, may", adding: "I'm not here to say that I know how to beat cancer."
"I'm not saying that I know how to put anything into remission, but a lot of people have been able to go through this process by looking at things through that lens, of modern medicine, and it's what I've always promoted," Evans said.
"The combination of looking using every single tool that we have at our disposal. Ancient wisdom, natural medicine, modern medicine, spiritual medicine and everything else that is available to us to go on this journey to learn more about ourselves."
GP TOLD EVANS TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
The video was hosted by Allona Lahn, the Informed Medical Options Party candidate for the electorate of Nicklin on the Sunshine Coast, ahead of the Queensland election on October 31.
Evans raised the general practitioner's name in regards to comments he made on Ben Fordham's 2GB radio program in May, after the My Kitchen Rules star was axed from Seven.
"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 said at the time.
He described Evans' Instagram posts as "the oddest things I have ever read".
One post from the celebrity chef detailed "code words" to look out for on social media when it came to COVID-19.
"Soon you will hear about certain high profile people (celebrities, politicians, executives, elite, billionaires) having CV (coronavirus). Here are some code words to look out for," it read.
"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."
'MAYBE HE SHOULD HAVE GIVEN ME A CALL'
In the 47-minute video on Friday, Evans said mainstream news outlets, talk show "parrots" and breakfast TV "actors reading a script" had "laughed and ridiculed" about his mental state.
"Two months later that doctor passed away. Pancreatic cancer. Condolences to his family," he said.
"The amount of people that we have helped come through cancer through looking at a holistic lens, holistic means embracing modern medicine as well as natural medicine.
"The amount of people we have helped get off pharmaceutical drugs. The amount of people that have reversed their terminal illnesses, that have no longer auto-immune disease, that have put things into remission or severely reduced their medication, the amount of people that are no longer depressed or suffer anxiety through looking through a holistic lens. I wish that doctor had have (had) the courage to have a chat. I'd never met him.
"The fact that somebody questions somebody's mental state publicly yet doesn't have the decency to - if he was concerned about my mental state, maybe he should have given me a call or invited me to have a conversation."
'HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME'
Acting President of the RACGP Ayman Shenouda on Monday described Evans' comments as "completely unacceptable".
"He should immediately retract them and apologise to the late Dr Harry Nespolon's family," he said in a statement to news.com.au.
"Harry was a great man who is sorely missed by many people, including me," Dr Shenouda said.
"Even when he was given a terminal cancer diagnosis, Harry continued to fight and provide outstanding leadership until he could no longer hold on.
"I promised that I would find a way to honour his work and advocacy and that includes defending his legacy from the likes of Pete Evans.
"Harry deserves far better than this. Hang your head in shame Mr Evans."
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt in July extended his deepest condolences to Dr Nespolon's family, friends and colleagues, describing his death as a "great loss" to all Australians.
"He was a passionate but also reasoned advocate for GPs and, above all, for their patients - the Australian people," Mr Hunt said.
"His tenure as president coincided with a period of reform and then, of emergency - both the bushfire emergency and more recently the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Throughout these challenges, and his own personal battle with cancer over the past nine months, he remained tireless, eloquent and cogent in his leadership and drive for positive change."
He said Dr Nespolon will be remembered for his intellect, passion, dedication and professionalism.
Originally published as Evans told: 'Hang your head in shame'