A doctor who criticised the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism after appearing as a guest on a far-right YouTube channel. Dr. Marcus de Brun was on the channel to speak about the ongoing pandemic.
One anti-racism group described his actions as “raising very real questions about his professional tolerance for the far-right”.
The channel Dr. de Brun appeared on is run by Rowan Croft who also goes by the name Grand Torino. Croft has a history of involvement with far-right activists and promoting far-right conspiracy theories and talking points.
Croft has in the past also called for one Irish journalist to be given a “helicopter ride”. This is a reference to the practice of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who had people killed by having them thrown out of helicopters.
Dr. de Brun was interviewed by Croft on his channel on 20 May. During the interview the doctor argued that the government needs to be held to account for its current policies. And he declared that it has shown a “lack of credibility” in how it has so far dealt with the pandemic.
He went on to draw attention to Sweden and its lack of a lockdown, saying that “human rights and civil liberties are not being attacked” there. Going further, he asked:
Why is it that there is a serious, serious effort on the part of the state, the television, or state media, to paint a certain picture that does not stand up at all to any degree of scrutiny?
And given this, he asserted that
if you’re not towing the line in terms of opinion, and in terms of fact, in terms of the official line, then you’re an outlier. You’re a wacko.
Questions to answer
In the aftermath of the doctor’s appearance on the YouTube channel, Fingal Communities Against Racism (FCAR) released a statement condemning the move. The group revealed that it had contacted the doctor in advance of his scheduled interview and informed him about Croft’s history of far-right activism and advocacy.
It wrote that Croft “seeks to make far-right narratives popular in the mainstream”. And the interview of de Brun is simply “a strategic move to tap into a wider mainstream audience beyond the small far-right in Ireland”.
FCAR went on, insisting that:
Affording racists and fascists legitimacy and a wider audience helps them to promote their messages of hate, which in turn can lead to violence against those they target.
And it argued that for this reason de Brun’s decision to continue with the interview as scheduled “raises very real concerns about his professional tolerance for the far-right”.
In response to criticism of his decision to appear on Croft’s channel, de Brun defended the interview. On his Twitter page he wrote that “Refusing to speak with others, is simply another type of violence”.
Dr. de Brun rose to prominence after he resigned from the Irish Medical Council due to the government’s handling of the pandemic. He accused the government of “gross overestimation of the national case burden” and said it was risking the lives of vulnerable people.
Featured image via YouTube – Screenshot