Eamonn Holmes takes flak for airing 5G Covid-19 conspiracies on This Morning
Image credit: pa
TV viewers and scientists have criticised ITV presenter Eamonn Holmes (pictured) for comments he made about the possibility that 5G networks could be causing the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on This Morning, the host said that it was “very easy” to dismiss the conspiracy theory that there is a link between Covid-19 and the technology.
“I totally agree with everything you are saying but what I don’t accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don’t know it’s not true,” he said to co-presenter Alice Beer.
“No-one should attack or damage or do anything like that but it’s very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative.”
Media regulator Ofcom said it was assessing the comments after receiving 419 complaints from viewers.
“We are assessing this programme in full as a priority,” a spokeswoman said.
Prof Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, also criticised Holmes’ comments.
“I welcome enquiring minds, but this needs to be based on some fact and not peddled as a conspiracy as this causes untold damage,” he said.
Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton also weighed in.
He said: “The world of infectious disease experts, covering a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, countries and employers, are united in that we know how transmission of a virus works.
“Holmes is not known for his scientific expertise and appears to have very little in the way of relevant qualifications, experience or any kind of written track record in peer-reviewed journals.”
Earlier today Holmes made efforts to “clarify his comments” in the wake of the criticism.
Speaking to This Morning viewers, he said: “Both Alice Beer and myself agreed in a discussion on this very programme on fake news that it’s not true and there is no connection between the present national health emergency and 5G and to suggest otherwise would be wrong and indeed it could be possibly dangerous.
“Every theory relating to such a connection has been proven to be false and we would like to emphasise that.
“However, many people are rightly concerned and looking for answers and that’s simply what I was trying to do, to impart yesterday.
“But for the avoidance of any doubt I want to make it clear there’s no scientific evidence to substantiate any of those 5G theories. I hope that clears that up now.”
The theory isn’t just the preserve of fear-mongering Facebook groups, it has already had significant real world impact and telecoms infrastructure has been damaged by vandals concerned about the link between the virus and 5G.
At least seven mobile masts have been targeted with arson attacks in the past month, including in Melling, Liverpool, Belfast, and Birmingham (the Birmingham-based mast did not have 5G capability).
The attacks have even led the Government to say that social media companies should be held to account for the spread of the conspiracy theories.
Chinese firm Huawei has recently defended its role in the development of the UK’s 5G networks after the Government expressed concerns about its links to the Chinese state.
In an open letter, Huawei’s UK chief Victor Zhang said: “There are those who choose to continue to attack us without presenting any evidence.
“Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice.”
The Government has stated that Huawei would be limited to a 35 per cent involvement in the roll-out of 5G in the UK.
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.