How Matt Le Tissier risks career suicide spouting sick conspiracy theories on Ukraine massacre and Covid victim ‘actors’May 6, 2022
HE was England football's cheeky chappy who went on to launch a successful pundit career with gigs on Sky Sports and Question of Sport.
But following recent backlash over controversial comments made about the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, ex-Southampton midfielder Matt Le Tissier's career hangs in the balance.
Yesterday it emerged Jersey Bulls FC dropped the Guernsey-born player as their guest speaker at its gala dinner over his outlandish conspiracy theories.
It followed an interview he gave to The Times at the weekend in which he suggested Covid patients filmed in Italian hospitals at the start of the pandemic were "actors".
He also described PCR tests as "the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind" and suggested certain images from the conflict in Ukraine were "falsified".
Despite public backlash over his claims – which led to him being sacked from Sky and quitting his Southampton FC ambassador role – the pundit insists he us "not a nutter". So where did it all go wrong?
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Matt, who played 540 times and scored 209 goals for Southampton,claims he got into researching Covid-19 conspiracy theories while bored during the first lockdown.
He didn't hold back in sharing in his views, suggesting at one point that photos of people infected with the virus in China looked "completely inauthentic".
He stirred up a Twitter storm in August 2020 when he appeared to compare a row on a train over wearing a mask to Holocaust survivor Anne Frank.
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He retweeted a photo of the Holocaust victim with the caption: "The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law. The people who killed her were following it," captioned "Remember this".
Speaking about the mandatory wearing of masks, Matt previously claimed it is "only the elderly and people with existing conditions that are at risk… but you'd think everyone was going to die by the way it's being reported".
In response to a reply tweeted by journalist Rob Davies, which read: "Hi Matt, perhaps you're being ignorant rather than deliberately offensive but please don't invoke the Holocaust to support your crackpot views about masks. Thanks in advance," Matt shared four crying laughing emojis.
He insisted that his post had no reference to face coverings, but later deleted it and issued an apology.
Axed by Sky Sports
Matt was axed by Sky along with Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas, which was seen to be an effort by the organisation to freshen up its pundit roaster.
Three months prior, Matt had questioned a bosses' decision to wear a Black Lives Matter badge on-air.
Following the Anne Frank row, Matt hit out at trolls for trying to "ruin his life and get him sacked" over his controversial views on Covid-19.
Matt, who has 586,500 followers on Twitter, has since acknowledged that his controversial views "probably ended up with me losing my job".
In November last year, The Times reported that his social media posts were being shared by Premier League footballers who were hesitant over getting jabbed.
Dubbing himself a "conspiracy realist", Matt told The AJ Roberts Show in March: "I went into working in the media from 2002 onwards until late August 2020, which was an interesting scenario where I lost my job.
"Obviously the pandemic started in 2020 in March – and very early on in that I had my doubts as to what was really going on.
"I felt early on there was a massive overreaction to it by the governments.
"And that's where it all started for me with questioning the narrative and probably ended up with me losing my job at Sky."
War crime denials
In April, Matt was slammed for sharing warped conspiracy theories about Russian war crimes in Bucha – a city to the north-west of Ukraine's capital Kyiv.
Harrowing pictures showed the bodies of civilians scattered in the road and in shallow graves – many with bound hands and signs of torture.
Matt suggested the media has "lied" about the atrocities, retweeting a post which read: "The media lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction. The media lied about Covid.
"The media lied about the Hunter Biden laptop. But honestly, they are telling the truth about Bucha!"
The tweet showed an image of President Volodymyr Zelensky fighting back tears as he visited the desolate city.
Matt subsequently deleted the post after a furious backlash by fans and went on to explain: "The point of the tweet was to say 'don’t believe everything you read in times of war because both sides use propaganda'."
He added: "Let me make something very clear I do not advocate war in any way shape or form.
"I do not advocate anyone taking lives of others and anyone who commits such acts should be dealt with accordingly, any atrocities leave devastating effects on the families of the victims and us all."
Quit ambassador role
A day after he posted the controversial tweet, Matt stepped down from his role as an ambassador at Southampton FC.
In an address to fans, he tweeted: “I have decided to step aside from my role as an ambassador of SFC. My views are my own and always have been, and it’s important to take this step today to avoid any confusion.
“This does not affect my relationship with and love for my club, and I will always remain a fan and supporter of everything Saints.
“I can, however, see that due to recent events it’s important to separate the work I believe in from my relationship with the club I have supported and played for most of my life.
“I will see you all at St Mary’s and will always do anything I can to help the club.”
But he refused to back down on his controversial views about the war.
Asked for his thoughts on the Russia-Ukraine conflict during his AJ Roberts podcast appearance, Matt suggested "crisis-actors" were being used.
He said: "It is incredible – if you talk to people about crisis actors and point out that that picture they're claiming is from this war was taken four years ago.
"Does that not make you a little bit suspicious they're using a picture from four years ago?
"With all the technology we've got available now, why couldn't they get a picture from Kyiv?
"Please, do some critical thinking and just make yourself think that possibly there's something else at play here."
Matt raised more eyebrows in his recent interview with The Times.
Insisting he is proud of not following the crowd, he sensationally claimed the government has been interfering with his life.
He said: “A couple of years ago I felt like something wasn’t right. People were interfering in my life who shouldn’t have been — mainly the government and scientists.
"I felt a real sense of injustice and when I feel a sense of injustice I can’t keep my mouth shut. I have to speak up.”
He also claimed PCR tests are "the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind”, and admitted he has not been vaccinated against Covid.
After being dropped from the Jersey Bulls gig, Matt has since accused ITV Jersey of threatening the club.
In a social media video he ranted: "Obviously [the Jersey Bulls] knew what my views were on things that are going on in the world at the moment, but were quite happy to book me – until earlier this week when ITV Jersey basically threatened the Jersey Bulls that, if I was to speak at the event, that they would send cameras to the event, and they would turn it into a controversial event and report on it as a controversial event."
However an ITV spokesperson denied his claim, stating: "ITV Channel TV was never planning to cover the event and had absolutely no bearing on this decision."
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Matt has no plans to stop airing his controversial views.
He said: "If that means I come in for a bit of criticism and I get labelled by you guys in the media who try to paint me out as some sort of nutter then that’s a price I am willing to pay."
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