Aussie tennis great Pat Cash has sparked anger on social media after sharing the link to a movie about a widely debunked theory about coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Cash posted a link to the ‘Plandemic: Indoctornation’ movie, which promotes a debunked conspiracy theory about how the COVID-19 strain was created.
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“It’s finally out, download here as well,” the 55-year-old wrote. “Be informed - make up your own mind.”
The ‘Plandemic’ movie has been banned on Facebook as the social media giant continues its battle against the spread of misinformation.
Facebook users have been blocked from sharing the link to the full-length movie.
Anyone attempting to share the link has received a warning message that the URL of the video goes against the platform’s community guidelines because it contained “COVID-19 claims that our fact-checking partners have repeatedly rated false.”
“Given the previous Plandemic video violated our COVID misinformation policies, we blocked access to that domain from our services,” Facebook told Forbes.
However Twitter doesn’t have the same regulations, instead warning users who click on the link that the content may be “unsafe”.
Needless to say Cash copped widespread backlash after posting the link.
“Unbelievably disappointing,” commented Dr Nikki Stamp, a heart and lung transplant surgeon.
“You are putting people’s lives at risks by sharing this, which is not at all factual.”
Unbelievably disappointing. You are putting people’s lives at risks by sharing this, which is not at all factual.— Dr Nikki Stamp FRACS (@drnikkistamp) August 19, 2020
Others including Nick Kyrgios’ brother Christos labelled Cash’s post “insulting” and “dangerous”.
Dangerous dangerous content.— Christos Kyrgios (@xkyrgios) August 19, 2020
Stop peddling this rubbish!— Pallavi (@pallavirank) August 19, 2020
Sure— JulioBs_c (@JulioBs_c) August 19, 2020
World Healt Organization and all its scientists are wrong.
Right are the dudes writing shady hard to access articles in the web.
It’s so insulting & dangerous how some people think all you doctors are part of an elaborate hoax. As if you’re happily working all day pretending to treat a fake virus.— Anouk72 (@Anouk724) August 19, 2020
I’m so sorry this nonsense is impeding all your hard work to help eradicate the effects of this pandemic.
Seriously @TheRealPatCash THIS is how you think. You need to stick to tennis. I am sickened by this. Making up your own mind - whilst spouting off someone else's fiction. Rubbish. Do you have parents, grandparents, loved ones. Will you wear a mask.?— Anne Taylor (@AnnieMTaylor) August 19, 2020
Very sad to see yet another person swallow this blatant nonsense. A sad epitaph to your career, Pat. Embarrassing at best.— MsGoHardVictoriaWeCanDoThisPraxis (@MsPraxis) August 19, 2020
That’s as far as I’ll be going into that then. How disappointing from Pat. pic.twitter.com/F0akPDR9Xm— Tom Carpenter (@Carpo34) August 19, 2020
"unsafe".... I should say so.— sharon k roberts (@teachjourno) August 19, 2020
"Back to previous page" - thanks, I will. pic.twitter.com/IkebYzckbe
A spokesperson for Twitter told Forbes the link would not be completely banned because users are frequently “[disputing] the claims in real time with the link included as context.”
Pat Cash slams US Open virus regulations
Meanwhile, Cash has also taken aim the regulations put in place to protect players at this month’s US Open, describing them as “ridiculous” and “overkill”.
Forty ‘social distance ambassadors’ will monitor the US Open grounds to make sure players and others are avoiding close contact and wearing face coverings at the upcoming New York grand slam.
The US Tennis Association bought 500,000 masks to distribute as part of efforts to avoid a coronavirus outbreak during the fan-free tournament starting on August 31.
“We're trying to leave nothing to chance and make it as stress-free for the players as possible,” Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre chief operating officer Danny Zausner said.
The USTA announced on Tuesday that one person, who is not a player, turned up positive for COVID-19 out of 1400 tests administered in the controlled environment set up for the US Open.
Two tests are taken 48 hours apart when a player or member of an entourage arrives at one of the two official hotels or one of the private homes the USTA made available for rent on Long Island.
But according to Cash, who was required to be tested because of his role as a commentator for Eurosport, it’s too much.
“US open tennis ‘bubble’ procedure – 6.30 am first round of testing in hotel (who else would have that type of carpet) now to wait (approx 24 hrs)for results locked in the room,” the 1987 Wimbledon champion posted on Instagram.
“This makes sense but as I read through the rules it seems that many are completely ridiculous and overkill.”
Two players in US Open bubble sent to quarantine
On Wednesday, two players within the US Open bubble were dropped from the ATP and WTA’s lead-up event (the Western and Southern Open) and sent into quarantine after contact with the COVID-19 positive individual.
The person who tested positive is in isolation for 10 days but contract tracing showed two players, neither of whom was identified, had been in “close and prolonged contact” with the individual.
The players have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms but after input from the US Open medical team and in consultation with the New York City Department of Health, they were removed from the Western and Southern Open and sent into quarantine.
“We expected this to happen,” USTA CEO Mike Dowse said.
“Mathematically, we expected to have a positive, if not more than one. So we did anticipate this and we have put very specific protocol in place to prevent this from spreading broadly.
“Our No.1 priority is to take care of this person first, and secondly to prevent the spread from going any further.”
Once the US Open begins, a player testing positive would be kicked out of the tournament.
“This is all about mitigation of risk, lessening the exposure,” tournament director Stacey Allaster said.
She said about 350 players - roughly 90 per cent of the field - were already in the “bubble”.