James O'Brien explains why he won't speak to anti-vaxxers

7 July 2020, 12:51

By Seán Hickey

James O'Brien said he cannot to give a platform to conspiracy theorists, because their ideas could be fatal to listeners.

James O'Brien was highlighting how the coronavirus pandemic has given light to many people who believe in conspiracy theories such as phone masts causing coronavirus, vaccines causing autism and the Earth being flat. He announced that although the topic of discussion would be these conspiracy theorists, he wouldn't be taking calls from these people.

Justifying his stance, James said he was not showing hate to these people, stressing that the phenomenon has hit people close to him. "I told you at the time that the strangest thing in the early days of this crisis were the messages I was getting from old mates" that were reading up on. conspiracy theories.

"When I say I don't want to talk to you if you're in this category of people, I don't want you to think that I'm sort of looking down on you, I just can't obviously use this platform to promote opinions or ideas that will kill other people.

"That's just my responsibility to you, human to human."

"I do care passionately about you and your family's health and the fact that you've become an anti-vaxxer is terrifying and tragic and I want to help you come out of that darkness.

James said that he cannot give a platform to people that broadcast things that are untrue
James said that he cannot give a platform to people that broadcast things that are untrue. Picture: PA

"But if I let you talk to me about it then you might bend some ears of people listening and that would be like conducting a proper debate over whether bleach kills coronavirus or the moon is made of cheese."

James stated that "the problem with the internet is that there's no dissenting voice there." and because many statements go unchallenged, people are vulnerable to be impressed upon.

"If you read that a phone mast will give you a virus, a phone mast will give you a virus and there's nothing on your other shoulder, is there? That's the bit I find scary."

"I love you and I care for you, but I cannot talk to you today because it would be like talking to someone who thinks bleach can cure coronavirus."

"I'm going to talk about you today and I hope we can do it affectionately, we're certainly going to try and do it respectfully."

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