Ebdon claimed that the social distancing tactic being used around the world to slow the rate of COVID-19 infection is harmful.
The 49-year-old, who retired from snooker in April due to a chronic neck problem, actually encouraged listeners to do the opposite and shake hands in order to ‘build up immunity’.
He also directed listeners to a controversial website, often mentioned by high-profile conspiracy theorist David Icke.
“There’s an awful lot of brainwashing going on at the moment,” said Ebdon. “We’re facing the greatest psychological operation in history.
“Is social distancing harmful? Yes, it probably is. People need touch, need to shake hands. They need to build up their immunity.”
The 49-year-old won the World Championship title in 2002 – beating Stephen Hendry 18-17 in the final – and won eight other ranking events, including the 2006 UK Championship.
But his contentious views stirred up some strong views on social media, with many questioning why presenter Mark Chapman failed to challenge Ebdon.
“Peter Ebdon interview on @bbc5live now. Bat s**t crazy,” tweeted one concerned listener.
“He’s going full conspiracy theory – claiming social distancing should end, media brainwashing, ‘energy’ healing.
“He’s a public figure: his opinions bear weight. Dangerous & disgraceful to allow him airtime.”
“I’ve got to hand it to you, 2020. Of all the sportspeople I might have anticipated going the full David Icke, I did not have the name Peter Ebdon on my bingo card,” added a second.
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A third was equally baffled, writing: “Peter Ebdon invited on to @5liveSport to talk about retiring from snooker and descending into anti-government, anti-Covid, “red pill/blue pill” conspiracy theories and knocking @markchapman into various states of stunned silence, is my favourite lockdown radio moment so far.”
Over 34,000 people have died from coronavirus and current government advice is to ‘stay alert’ in order to help reduce and slow the disease’s infection rate.
This means you must:
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
- do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
- work from home if you can limit contact with other people
- stay at home as much as possible
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