Paleo Pete Evans wins Bent Spoon award for a second time
The Australian Skeptics’ Bent Spoon award has gone to former celebrity chef and television presenter Pete Evans – the first time in Skeptics history that the same person has won the award twice.
The annual Skeptics’ awards were announced late last month during the 2020 Skepticon convention, which this year was an online event.
The Bent Spoon is given to the “proponent of the most preposterous piece of pseudoscientific or paranormal piffle of the year”.
Past winners have included the ABC, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the University of Wollongong, the Australian [anti]Vaccination Network, SBS’s Medicine or Myth, and a psychic dentist.
While there were a number of nominations for this year’s Spoon, Mr Evans was the “handsdown” choice, said the group.
“His promotion of the pseudoscientific non-medical BioCharger for treating COVID-19 would have been enough in its own right,” said Tim Mendham, executive officer for Australian Skeptics.
“But add on top his promotion of the anti-vaccination cause, through interviewing defrocked medico Andrew Wakefield to discuss his debunked suggestion of a link between vaccines and autism, and his support of the alarmist, conspiratorial and mis-named Medical Options Party in the Queensland election, meant that there really was no other choice.”
Mr Evans first won the Spoon in 2015 for his promotion of diets such as bone broth for babies, and his campaigns against fluoridation and vaccination.
“Over the years, Evans has added to his portfolio of weirdness. Each new fetish just puts further strange ideas out there, some silly, some dangerous. He is a deserving winner,” said Mr Mendham.
In April, the TGA issued two infringement notices to Mr Evans’ company totalling $25,200 in relation to a number of complaints sent to the TGA about the promotion of the ‘BioCharger’ device.
Mr Evans allegedly live streamed on his Facebook page, which has more than 1.4 million followers, claiming that the device could be used in relation to “Wuhan Coronavirus”.
A second infringement notice was issued for alleged advertising breaches on Mr Evans’ website that the BioCharger device was “proven to restore strength, stamina, co-ordination and mental clarity” among other claims.
Mr Evans responded to the Bent Spoon win on Facebook: “Badge of honour. Thanks team,” with a series of emojis including a laughing face.
He added: “#thereisnospoon” in reference to a scene from the movie, The Matrix.
Other nominees for the award included Meryl Dorey and the Australian [anti]Vaccination-risks/skeptic Network; anti-vaccinationist Judy Wilyman; MMS Australia for its bleach treatment for COVID-19; and radio jocks Kyle and Jackie O for themselves “giving an unfettered platform for Evans to espouse his most outrageous and unsubstantiated theories”.
In addition to the Bent Spoon award, positive recognition was given to Mandy-Lee Noble as Skeptic of the Year, Dr Norman Swan and the Science Friction program joint winners for journalism, and Dr Vyom Sharma good works to promote reason.
Pharmacy has a history with the Bent Spoon Award. The 2006 award was given to “the pharmacists of Australia, who manage to forget their scientific training long enough to sell quackery and snake oil (such as homeopathy and ear candles) in places where consumers should expect to get real medical supplies and advice”.
In 2011, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Blackmores were awarded a dishonorable mention “for their deal to sell unnecessary and unproven products to people who purchase proven pharmaceutical products”.