Antony Worrall Thompson says he believes in ‘freedom of choice’ after pub displays ‘anti-vax’ sign

·3-min read
Antony Worrall Thompson insists he is not against vaccinations (Getty Images)
Antony Worrall Thompson insists he is not against vaccinations (Getty Images)

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has insisted that he is not against vaccinations after his pub displayed a sign created by an anti-jab group.

The former Ready Steady Cook star, who runs The Greyhound in Oxfordshire, told the BBC he believes people should have the freedom of choice around whether they get vaccinated.

His comments come after his gastropub put up a notice from an anti-vaccination group calling for “equality”.

“We do not discriminate. Race, gender, age, disability, vaccinated or unvaccinated. Everyone equal here. Everyone welcome,” it read.

Thompson told the BBC he will remove any specific reference to the group, but will continue to display the sign as he agrees with its message.

“I don’t want to discriminate against anyone,” Thompson explained.

“At the end of the day we’ve done our time, we’ve done two years of this, lockdowns and various things and precautions, and I think it’s time to move on.”

The UK recorded 81,713 positive cases of coronavirus on Saturday 15 December.

The NHS states that getting vaccinated reduces the risk of catching and spreading the virus and getting seriously ill or dying.

Thompson said he does not believe the sign is irresponsible, and the public should be able to exercise their free will.

“You know you have the choice. Freedom of choice to get vaccinated, freedom of choice to come to The Greyhound,” he added.

“I agree with people getting vaccinated. I’m not an anti-vaxxer... to me if you don’t want to get vaccinated, if you don’t want to put chemicals into your body, it has to be your choice.”

Thompson rose to fame after appearing on several TV cooking shows, including Ready Steady Cook and BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. He also competed in the second series of I’m a Celebrity...Get me Out of Here! In 2003.

In December last year, Thompson divided Good Morning Britain viewers when he told hosts Ben Shephard and Charlotte Hawkins that he believes children should eat all the food on their plates, regardless of whether they enjoy it.

“I’m old school and as kids, we had to eat what we were given. No waste – food was a little bit scarce in those days,” he said.

“I think there’s a rule that if a child eats something 21 times, they will get to like it.”

Taking to social media, some viewers branded Thompson’s comments as “outdated”.

“I was forced to eat food I didn’t like as a child and couldn’t leave the table until I had. It only left me with food hates and bad memories of my mother,” one Twitter user said.

Another agreed with Thompson, writing that children should be introduced to new foods “gradually and from an early age”.

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