GB News presenter Neil Oliver cleared by Ofcom over ‘turbo cancer’ conspiracy claims
The broadcasting watchdog received 70 complaints after anti-vaxxer Neil Oliver, in an episode aired on GB News on 13 January, implied a link between pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccinations and an excess of 100,000 deaths in the UK since January 2022.
The former BBC historian said: “While young people drop dead and otherwise healthy people of all ages are harvested in hitherto unheard of numbers by heart disease and turbo cancer, our old friend Pfizer has been spending some of its recently acquired massive wealth buying companies that develop drugs to treat heart disease and turbo cancer.
“I don’t know about you, but until just a few months ago, I’d never heard of turbo cancer.”
He later described “turbo cancer” as “fuel injected, maybe with a bottle of nitrous oxide on the side for the sudden terrifying burst of speed across the line to unexpected death”.
The broadcasting watchdog, in a statement published on Wednesday, said it recognised Mr Oliver’s views as controversial but said it did not believe the presenter had materially misled his audience.
“In line with freedom of expression, our rules allow broadcasters to cover controversial themes and topics,” the regulator said. “We recognise that these brief comments were the presenter’s personal view and did not materially mislead the audience.”
It added: “We therefore will not be pursuing this further.”
A week before Mr Oliver’s controversial episode, he explicitly claimed there was a suggestion of a “temporal link between excess deaths and the rollout of jabs”, again on GB News.
In the 11-minute video clip, which was later posted to Facebook, he said: “Hardly a month goes by without me hearing of another heart attack, another stroke, another twentysomething dropping dead when no one had any reason to doubt they were in otherwise perfect health.
“More and more of us say the elephant in the room when it comes to a grown-up conversation about all the unexpected dying is the suggestion of a temporal link between excess deaths and the rollout of the jabs.”
The title of that episode was “Conspiracy theorist: How many of yesterday’s so-called conspiracy theories must be revealed as the truth before that worn-out label is finally abandoned”.
He did not cite evidence for where the 100,000 figure had been sourced in either episode and a spokeswoman for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) later said there was “no evidence COVID-19 vaccinations are linked to these estimated excess deaths”.
The total number of excess deaths for 2022-2023, according to UK health agencies, is 72,575. ONS data also shows all-cause deaths in England and Wales were higher among the unvaccinated than those who had received at least one dose, for every month in its April 2021 to May 2023 dataset.
Mr Oliver joined GB News in 2021 and regularly protested both the government response to the pandemic and vaccine safety. His views led to his resignation from several positions, including a fellowship at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.