ViacomCBS-owned Network 10 and international publisher Pan MacMillan have severed their relationship with celebrity chef Pete Evans after controversy erupted over a social media post featuring an ancient sun symbol that was appropriated by the Nazis.
On Nov. 16, Evans posted a cartoon image on his Facebook featuring a caterpillar (sporting a Make America Great Again cap) talking to a butterfly (whose wing features the black sun symbol).
The caterpillar tells the butterfly: “You’ve changed.”
The butterfly responds: “We’re supposed to.”
The post has since been deleted.
— Byron Kaye (@byronkaye) November 15, 2020
The post elicited a negative response on social media and saw Evans’ long-time book publishing partner Pan MacMillan sever its relationship with the celebrity chef.
“Pan MacMillan is currently finalising its contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward,” the publisher told The Epoch Times.
A day later, Network 10 decided to terminate Evans’ involvement on reality television series: “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!”
“Network 10 can confirm that Pete Evans will not appear on this season of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!” a spokesperson told The Herald Sun.
The former “My Kitchen Rules” host has since apologised for the post, writing on Facebook and Twitter: “Sincere apologies to anyone who misinterpreted a previous post of a caterpillar and a butterfly having a chat over a drink and perceived that I was promoting hatred.”
“I look forward to studying all the symbols that ever existed and research them thoroughly before posting,” he added.
Popular Jewish YouTube commentator and citizen journalist Avi Yemini said he did not find the post offensive and could not immediately see any Nazi-related connotation.
“I looked at the meme, and as a Jew, I would NOT have known it was antisemitic until explained to me,” he wrote on Twitter.
The black sun (and the swastika) are obscure ancient symbols that were appropriated by the Nazi regime and have subsequently been adopted by extremists, most notably Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant.
Evans is outspoken on his views and has publicly expressed doubts about elements of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accuracy of the U.S. presidential election vote count.