Wild conspiracy theories linking 5G networks to the coronavirus pandemic are being blamed for a spate of attacks on UK cellphone towers — and are even being spread by celebrities such as Woody Harrelson.
Fires at towers in Birmingham, Liverpool and Belfast have all been blamed on the conspiracy theories, UK officials said. The theories have ranged from 5G signals causing the virus, to the contagion being started as a cover-up for health maladies related to the networks.
UK Cabinet minister Michael Gove damned the tales as “dangerous nonsense” while noting that the damaged phone lines are crucial for emergency services battling the pandemic.
Yet the conspiracy theories are quickly reaching a massive audience — thanks in parts to celebrities now sharing it with millions of people on social media.
Former “Cheers” TV star Woody Harrelson recently posted a report “about the negative effects of 5G” and its supposed role in the coronavirus pandemic to his more than 2 million Instagram followers.
“I haven’t fully vetted it I find it very interesting,” he wrote of the report claiming “5G radiation” is “exacerbating” the contagion’s spread and making it more lethal.
That post got 25,500 likes — while a later one of a video showing Chinese campaigners attacking phone towers there got viewed more than 300,000 times.
Singer M.I.A. has also repeatedly tweeted about her fears over 5G — recently saying that even if it does not cause COVID-19, it “can confuse or slow the body down in healing process as body is learning to cope with new signals wavelength s frequency etc @ same time as Cov.”
The “Paper Planes” rapper even posted a photo of one of the burning towers.
“People in England are setting fire to it. They should just turn it off till after the pandemic!” she wrote.
Professor Stephen Powis, the UK’s national medical director, called the theories “outrageous” and “absolute and utter rubbish.”
Dr. Michael Head of the University of Southampton also told the Evening Standard that such “ignorance” could prove dangerous.
“Conspiracy theorists are a public health danger who once read a Facebook page,” he told the Evening Standard.
“The celebrities fanning the flames of these conspiracy theorists should be ashamed.”