Anti-vaxxers accused of targeting TV stars’ homes
Campaigners have served presenters and pundits with ‘bogus’ legal documents
Anti-vaccination campaigners have visited the homes of media professionals to deliver documents of “liability” for their vocal support of Covid-19 jabs.
Activists visited the west London home of BBC Radio 2 and Channel 5 presenter Jeremy Vine on Sunday and delivered “what appeared to be bogus legal documents”, said The Times.
Vine was given a “notice of liability”, according to the campaigners. It’s “unclear” what is specifically meant by the term, said the newspaper, but the “template” for such letters typically involves informing a recipient that they are “complicit in the alleged harm and death of others” through their “contribution” to Covid-19 management measures, such as lockdowns and the vaccine rollout. The documents “hold no weight in court”, The Times added.
Vine was not at home when the campaigners visited, and the documents were instead accepted by his wife, Rachel Schofield. Vine told his Twitter followers that the “polite” anti-vaxxers were angry at the BBC’s vaccine reporting, and that he was “unnerved” by one of the campaigner’s “heavy breathing”, which can be heard on one of the videos. The Radio 2 presenter said he is “always happy to engage but not like this”.
One man filming outside Vine’s home identified himself as Michael Manuel Chaves, who presents the YouTube channel Mad Mix Conspiracies, said The Times. Chaves warned judges, politicians and members of the media, “we’ve got your address, we’re going to come to your front door and we’re going to serve you”, adding that the group’s behaviour would “always” be “peaceful and respectful”.
Vine is not the first public figure to have his home visited by anti-vaxxers. Last week Dr Hilary Jones, who frequently appears on Good Morning Britain, was also “targeted” by campaigners who similarly “attempted” to serve him legal documents, said MailOnline. Jones has been vocal in criticising vaccine-sceptics, including “three unnamed professional dancers” who are starring on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and had refused to get the jab.
A source told the news site that a “vicious bunch of protesters” had “blasted unpleasant messages through loudspeakers” outside Jones’s Kent home. The “mob” gathered outside Jones’s “sprawling property” on Saturday 2 October, “wielding placards and megaphones”.
A video of the event posted on the group Learn Something New’s Brand New Tube channel shows one protester describing Jones’s actions as “criminal on every level”, and his statements on the vaccine’s safety as “coercive”.
“We have to make it personal,” he said, because “you made it personal the moment you came for our kids”. In September, Jones said it “makes sense” to vaccinate children aged 12 and over during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
The man featured in the Learn Something New video described the protesters as “normal people, builders, workers, check-out staff” as well as “concerned mums and dads”.
In June, the Evening Standard reported that workers on the frontline of the vaccine rollout in London had been subjected to physical and verbal abuse by anti-vaxxers. The news came after a public attack on England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty, which the prime minister described as “despicable”.
Over the weekend it also transpired that wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham’s home had been the target of an arson attack in the early hours of Friday 8 October. However, it was not thought to be related to the anti-vax movement.
In a video posted on Twitter, Packham described how two “hooded and masked men” set fire to his front gate before the car they had travelled in “exploded”. The anti-hunting advocate speculated that the suspects might have been members of a hunt, internet trolls or others opposed to his own activism.
There’s “no ambiguity” about the fact that the incident is a “hate crime”, said Packham, who said it’s “fair” to ask if the perpetrators are “going to kill me at some point?”. However, the conservationist made clear he would not change his stance to support activities he did not agree with, such as “illegal shooting” and “trail hunting”.