‘The last straw’: Pet food retailers the latest to sever ties with Pete Evans after neo-Nazi social media post

Pete Evans

Former My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans.

Celebrity chef Pete Evans has been dropped by his book publisher, major supermarkets and bookstores have removed his products from aisles, and now his pet food brand is disappearing from shelves after he shared a neo-Nazi symbol on social media.

After years of contentious claims about alternative diets and the harm of vaccinations, it was Evans’ Facebook post last Sunday that caused a cascade of brands to sever ties with the chef.

Brands reacted swiftly to the post, with Pan Macmillan announcing the end of its six-year relationship with Evans on Monday afternoon. The publisher is even allowing retailers to return his books.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson from Pet House Superstore confirmed to SmartCompany that the retailer will remove Pete Evans’ pet food brand, Healthy Everyday Pets, from their online shop and discontinue the range in store.

“In our view, the images and views expressed by Mr Evans are reprehensible, unacceptable and offensive,” the spokesperson said.

A customer service employee from My Pet Warehouse also confirmed to SmartCompany on Wednesday that Pete Evans’ branded products have been removed from the store’s website.

Pet Circle, a second major stockist, is also no longer selling the products.

SmartCompany has contacted Pet Circle and My Pet Warehouse’s owner, Best Friends Pets, to confirm the retailers will no longer sell Evans’ brand.

On Tuesday, Woolworths Group and Big W announced their stores would remove his food products and books from their shelves.

Coles, Kmart Group, Dymocks, Collins Booksellers, Booktopia and David Jones soon followed, all sharing the sentiment that the chef’s commentary does not reflect their brand values.

Kitchenware manufacturer Baccarat Kitchen also confirmed it has terminated its license agreement with Evans and will no longer manufacture or sell its range of Evans’ branded products, while retailer House has also removed the chef’s products from its online and bricks-and-mortar stores.

Evans has previously been associated with drinks brand Natural Raw C, however, the brand said on Tuesday it has been “taking steps to disassociate with him both personally and as a brand” over the past year.

“We are both horrified and saddened by the religious and anti-Semitic undertones by this tweet,” the company said in a statement on social media.

“These views are not supported by our company or staff.”

“A no-brainer”

Brand and marketing strategist Melissa Packham tells SmartCompany Pete Evans’ latest provocation was the final straw, pushing brands to stop giving him a platform.

Packham says these companies saw a blatant reference to neo-Nazism, as did many consumers, despite Evans’ claim to have not known what the image meant.

“I really do think that with an issue like neo-Nazism, that’s just a no-brainer, that’s a very hard no for organisations,” Packham tells SmartCompany.

Packham says the brands that cut ties with Evans would have considered whether they were willing to take on the level of risk associated with the controversy by continuing to sell his products.

“They have to be really careful that it’s more than just a revenue discussion, it absolutely is a reputational discussion,” she says.

Evans became a household name after judging Seven Network’s My Kitchen Rules and quickly inked deals with an extensive range of food goods, books and pet food.

However, he was dropped by Seven Network in May this year, and this week Channel 10 followed suit by dumping him from the next season of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

According to independent brand counsel Michel Hogan, Evans is unique because he is both an individual and business.

The chef’s reputation is a form of capital that he and other companies trade, but he only has as much reputation that his actions and integrity provide, says Hogan.

“None of us are perfect, so every now and again your reputation might take a hit, but as long as you have enough to cover it, your brand will be okay,” Hogan says.

“But if you empty your brand value warehouse, then you have nowhere left to go, then you’re defunct and that’s what Pete has done,” she adds.

“Right now, it would be hard to see any doors that would be willing to open for him given the outrage,” Hogan says.

“He’s effectively made himself a pariah.”

Evans responded to the backlash in a video on Facebook, in which he denied being racist and said he had to “Google the meaning of Neo-Nazi”.

“The mainstream media have come out and labelled me a racist and a Neo-Nazi … but it is a load of garbage,” he said.

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Murray Webb
Murray Webb
11 days ago

So, What is happening to Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech, and tolerance??
It appears only those disassociating with Pete Evans are the Nazis!

Chris Blackman
Chris Blackman
11 days ago
Reply to  Murray Webb

Doubt you’ll find much support anywhere for anyone tweeting neo-Nazi material. There are some freedoms that just aren’t freedoms to be had. Nazism was the epitome of intolerance, so asking for tolerance of Nazism is beyond breathtaking.

Murray Webb
Murray Webb
7 days ago
Reply to  Chris Blackman

Chris, couple of things: 1. you said “so asking for tolerance of Nazism is beyond breathtaking”. Well, I didn’t say THAT. We’re talking about Pete Evans, hence tolerance of Pete Evans opinion, which was in fact innocuous — stay on topic and it won’t be so “beyond breathtaking”, as you said. Topic again is Pete Evans and what he supposedly did in all innocence, NOT “tolerance of Nazism” to quote you. 2.While I’m here, why not let the PUBLIC decide if they want to buy Pete’s book, or his Pet Food brand. Having people decide for me, well, that was the Nazism to which I was referring. You are being conditioned to have other people make decisions for you,- now THAT’S what the NAZIS did. Don’t be bullied by NAZIS. Make up your own mind at the supermarket shelf — Shall i buy Pete’s book, or his Pet food? You decide if you want to wake up one day in a Totalitarian regime. You let others decide for you,– They win!

Ben
Ben
11 days ago
Reply to  Murray Webb

Fact is mate, freedom of speech is not without its limits.There are a myriad of things about people or faith or sexual preferences that you simply cannot say by law or by social standards. But I think you know that and I think we can all draw our own conclusions from your stance.

Joe
Joe
11 days ago

This is ridiculous, from my understanding of Pete’s post, it was an innocent repost of a cartoon, not a sinister one. the war was 80 years ago, time to move on

Last edited 11 days ago by Joe
Leanne
Leanne
10 days ago

It’s a shame that you don’t share his post to allow the readers to make their own minds up. You would rather make him look like the bad guy here for having an opinion and punishing him did the same. Main stream media is so controlling

Murray Webb
Murray Webb
7 days ago
Reply to  Leanne

The best I can do is share this;
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/misinterpreted-pete-evans-apologises-for-sharing-cartoon-with-supposed-neo-nazi-symbol-and-is-dropped-by-publisher

And say, well, we have a lot of inane people running around like headless chickens.
And if it is a Nazi symbol, well, let it be warning to this country. It too is CHANGING!
I agree with you, Leanne, to put it in my vernacular, We should get the facts first before piling up the firewood over Pete Evans.