Eamonn Holmes is facing an Ofcome investigation after he questioned the “mainstream media’s” narrative on a 5G conspiracy theory.
Fake news posts claiming that 5G internet helps to spread coronavirus have grown in recent weeks, and have led some people to cause criminal damage to internet masts.
In a segment on the topic on ITV’s This Morning, the 60-year-old told fellow presenter Alice Beer “I don’t accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don’t know it’s not true.
“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.”
The presenter added: “That’s all I would say, as someone with an inquiring mind.”
Holmes’ comments have since received 419 complaints from viewers, according to Ofcom. A spokeswoman for the regulator said it was “assessing this programme in full as a priority.”
ITV have yet to comment on the controversy.
Ofcom is also assessing comments made by infamous conspiracy theorist David Icke about coronavirus.
Viewers criticised Holmes’ comments and accused him of “legitimising” the conspiracy theories, and many in the scientific community called his intervention unhelpful.
Prof Brendan Wren, professor of microbial parthogenesis at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “I welcome enquiring minds, but this needs to be based on some fact and not pedalled as a conspiracy as this causes untold damage.”
Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, 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.”
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said that the idea that Covid-19 is caused by 5G mobile signals is “complete rubbish”.
A Government spokesman said: “We are aware of a number of attacks on phone masts and abuse of telecoms engineers apparently inspired by crackpot conspiracy theories circulating online.
“Those responsible for these criminal acts will face the full force of the law.”
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