The This Morning co-host Eamonn Holmes has suggested that it may “suit the state narrative” to dismiss false claims linking 5G technology and coronavirus.
He spoke out on the ITV show after the presenter Alice Beer described the conspiracy theories as “ridiculous” and “incredibly stupid”.
Holmes, who was co-presenting with his wife, Ruth Langsford, responded that “it’s very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative”.
He told Beer: “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. 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.”
He added: “That’s all I would say, as someone with an inquiring mind.”
Holmes made the remarks after scientists dismissed any link between 5G and coronavirus, with the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, previously calling a conspiracy theory, spread via YouTube, that linked the two “dangerous nonsense”.
Viewers criticised the presenter’s comments on social media and accused him of legitimising baseless theories. One, vickster51, wrote: “So I’ve just heard This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes legitimise the stories linking the coronavirus lockdown to 5G. On national television. Wow. How irresponsible can you get. Switching off. Hope Holly and Phil are back soon.”
Andy Green said: “Well done Eamonn. You just added more fuel to this 5G conspiracy theory by legitimising what is utter nonsense. You need to research properly before pronouncing.”
MPs have called for social media companies to be held to account following reports of phone masts being attacked after the claim spread online.
At least 20 phone masts across the UK are believed to have been set alight or vandalised since the start of the pandemic in connection to false 5G claims, according to government and industry sources, who said this month they were increasingly concerned about the impact of the baseless theories.
Facebook has since stepped up efforts to stop far-right groups from promoting conspiracy theories linking coronavirus to 5G.
Ofcom is assessing comments made by the conspiracist David Icke during an interview broadcast by the local television station London Live, in which he suggested that the coronavirus pandemic was part of a plot by governments to destroy the economy and conduct mass surveillance.
The media watchdog previously ruled that a local radio station had breached its rules after one of its guests suggested the Covid-19 outbreak was caused by the rollout of 5G mobile technology.
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.”