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John Cleese lashes out at GB News and Ofcom over airing ‘turbo cancer’ conspiracy claims

John Cleese has hit out at GB News presenter Neil Oliver’s claims about a link between coronavirus vaccinations and a rise in cancer cases. The presenter was cleared by Ofcom, who stated that he was expressing a personal opinion, but 84-year-old comedian John described the decision to exonerate him a “disaster”.

He retweeted a comment by The News Agents podcast star Jon Sopel, which fumed in response to the decision: “Sorry. This is nuts.” The tweet elaborated: “A presenter on a news channel uses platform to advance a conspiracy theory about a cancer in children linked to vaccines which is baseless, and OFCOM says it’s fine.”

“If facts don’t matter on a news channel, then where are we?” John then replied with a rant about “awful” media sources, writing: “I quite agree with Jon Sopel. My programme about the British press, ‘The Dinosaur Hour’ taught me that the reason our TV is so much more trustworthy than our awful press is that it’s had a good independent Regulator – OFCOM.”

However, he then exclaimed: “Suddenly, under these awful corrupt Tories, it’s not working any more. A disaster looms.” John’s ten-part series, which is currently available to view on the GB News website, saw him host some tough conversations from the sanctuary of a 12th century castle.

In one episode, the Fawlty Towers actor asked Professor Steven Barnett whether the government should get tougher on the media and overhaul Ofcom. Addressing the issue again on Twitter sparked off a lively debate, with some social media users telling John they disagree and think he has “fallen”.

On the other hand, he also had clear supporters, with one fan pondering: “Do you ever think we are living right now in a comedy sketch that was left off the cutting room floor?”

While another suggested he had a tendency to “blame the Tories for everything”, a third person countered that they felt corruption had soared since the Conservatives came to power.

One tweeter chimed in to ask: “Did you ever think you’d be fighting this fight in retirement John? Just glad we have notable figures like yourself on our side.”

The GB News segment which had sparked so much division was aired on January 13, and saw Ofcom receive 70 complaints about anti-vaxxer Neil Oliver.

The presenter, formerly a BBC historian, had claimed: “While young people drop dead and otherwise healthy people of all ages are harvested in hitherto unheard of numbers by heart disease and turbo cancer, our old friend Pfizer has been spending some of its recently acquired massive wealth buying companies that develop drugs to treat heart disease and turbo cancer.

“I don’t know about you, but until just a few months ago, I’d never heard of turbo cancer.”

However, Ofcom released a statement to say: “In line with freedom of expression, our rules allow broadcasters to cover controversial themes and topics.

“We recognise that these brief comments were the presenter’s personal view and did not materially mislead the audience. We therefore will not be pursuing this further.”


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