- Celebrity chef and high-profile conspiracy theorist Pete Evans has faced an enormous backlash after posting a cartoon on social media featuring a neo-Nazi symbol.
- Since then, a string of companies have either ended their relationships with him or signalled their intentions to do so.
- After first claiming he knew what the symbol meant, Evans has backtracked by apologising and claiming he actually didn’t.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
In just a day, the once towering Australian media figure Pete Evans has been dropped by his publisher, multiple bookstores, the major supermarkets and even from a scheduled appearance on a reality television show.
The tipping point for this slew of commercial breakups was a cartoon posted to social media on Sunday evening featuring the sonnenrad, a symbol associated with Nazis and Neo-nazis, but comes after months of pressure over his increasingly conspiratorial social media posts.
On Monday afternoon, the celebrity chef’s publisher Pan Macmillan announced plans to end their 6 year relationship with the author.
“Pan Macmillan does not support the recent posts made by Pete Evans. Those views are not our views as a company or the views of our staff. Pan Macmillan is currently finalising it’s [sic] contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward,” the company’s statement read.
The publisher is offering retailers the opportunity to return Evans’ books.
Pan Macmillan has not responded to questions about whether they will publish Evans in the future, including an upcoming book that was expected to be launched later this month.
Since then, a number of different companies have made efforts to distance themselves from the high profile conspiracy theorist.
A spokesperson for the Woolworths Group told Business Insider Australia that they were cutting ties with Evans.
We appreciate the recent community concern over comments made by Pete Evans. BIG W has taken the decision to remove his books from sale. As always, we encourage our customers to follow the expert medical advice from health authorities. More here: https://t.co/zQHW2Luk8T
— Woolworths (@woolworths) November 17, 2020
One of Evans’ major booksellers, Big W, will no longer stock his books from 17 November. Representatives for Woolworths supermarkets sought assurances from one of its suppliers that had used Evans as a spokesman.
“Woolworths Supermarkets has conveyed its concerns with supplier Raw C, who subsequently advised their relationship with Pete Evans ended earlier this year,” they said in a statement.
Soon after, Coles announced they were taking a similar step with their suppliers who had licensing agreements with Evans.
“We have spoken to these suppliers who share our concerns regarding recent statements made by Mr Evans and are in discussions regarding the removal of these products from our range,” a Coles spokesperson told Business Insider.
A spokesperson for the Kmart Group confirmed that the company would be removing Evans’ books from their Kmart and Target stores.
“Unfortunately we feel that recent commentary made by Pete Evans does not reflect our brand values, which is why we have made the decision to remove these book titles from all Kmart and Target stores, effective immediately,” they wrote in a statement.
Book seller Dymocks tweeted that the company was removing Evans’ books from their stores and website.
We are in the process of removing his books from our website and have advised our stores to return their stock as offered by the publisher. Thank you
— @dymocksbooks (@Dymocksbooks) November 16, 2020
Similarly, Australian online book retailer Booktopia signalled its intention to stop stocking Evans’ books.
“Booktopia made a decision several months ago to no longer actively promote or partner with Pete Evans, and to ensure his books were not prominently merchandised on our website. Today, we have made the further decision to take Pan MacMillan up on their offer and are beginning the process of removing his titles from our warehouse. While Pan MacMillan continues to have his titles available, they will be available in our product feeds,” a company spokesperson told Business Insider.
Home and kitchenware online retailer House also condemned Evan’s social media posts and comments.
The company said it would stop stocking his products — including a range of kitchenware and pet food — in its stores and online.
After weeks of rumours, online publication TV Blackbox confirmed on Monday night that Evans was set to appear on an upcoming season of reality television show ‘I’m A Celebrity’.
But in a drastic turnaround, the publication reported on Tuesday morning that Evans was ditched in a 6.30am phone call that morning.
In response to the initial backlash but before any companies had publicly parted ways with him, Evans posted on social media apologising to “anyone who misinterpreted a previous post”.
The normally profligate social media user has not posted since.
Updated to include companies who made announcements about Evans since the article was published.