A raw chicken-eating anti-vaxxer has been accused of ‘targeting students with propaganda’.
Failed Byron Bay mayoral candidate Tom Barnett outraged parents after placing a protest van at school gates on Thursday.
Among his many handwritten signs was one that read, “Teens are not medical experiments.”
Mr Barnett livestreamed his public stunt on Facebook, telling viewers his intention was to “change his mind” when it comes to Covid vaccinations.
In the clip he said ‘we’ve changed our mind a bit here (at the school) and just wait for the kids to come… the jab isn’t safe.
One of the slogans (pictured above) Mr Barnett had displayed when he set up a protest van outside Byron Bay High on Thursday
‘We’re here to talk to some youngsters from the (Byron Bay) shire’ before adding that ‘young people can be very vulnerable to public pressure’.
Barnett’s publicity stunt backfired with some local parents in the popular tourist destination who were furious at his antics.
Luke Jolly, who sends two of his children to Byron Bay High, called Barnett online.
‘Leave the children alone’ – and yet you try to influence them, isn’t that a bit hypocritical?’ he posted online in reference to one of Barnett’s characters.
“Schools are a safe zone, or sacred, it’s not the place to force a political agenda on other people’s children.”
Fellow local Kirra Pendergast also sensed that Barnett was crossing a line.
‘Schools are a no-go zone, some children were in the middle of their HSC. People are entitled to their own opinion, but children are approached, no,” she told the Daily telegram.
“Just stay away from the kids, it’s not okay.”
Earlier this month Barnett’s was bold bid to become mayor of Byron Bay ended after he failed to register in time for the election.
While promoting himself as a “holistic health practitioner and mindset coach,” he declared his intention to run for mayor on Nov. 1 using the phrase “seize the status quo” as his slogan.
Barnett promotes eating raw chicken, claiming at the start of the Covid pandemic last year that it was “impossible” to catch a virus in a bizarre video.
The activist’s name was notably absent from the list of mayoral candidates on the NSW Electoral Commission website ahead of next month’s vote.
Tom Barnett (center), an anti-vaccine activist who promotes eating raw chicken for good health, is accused of harassing students outside Byron Bay High School on Thursday
Passionate anti-vaxxer Mr Barnett recently failed in his bid to be elected mayor of Byron Bay
Another sign Mr. Barnett had outside Byron Bay High School was ‘Just Say No’, a reference to Covid vaccinations
He told his followers on Facebook not to be deterred: “If you’re not in the county, you can still vote in the ghost. Don’t underestimate the power of inspired intention.
“Remember that losers focus on winners and winners focus on winning. All we have to do is focus on our vision and we will win anyway,” he added.
Barnett’s campaign launch video showed him walking, surfing and wrestling with a man in a suit on the beach.
He claimed a vote for him would be for “health, freedom and community-led leadership.”
Mr Barnett has been an outspoken opponent of Covid-19 vaccines and “germ theory” on his tombarnett.tv platform, previously expressing his belief that it is impossible to catch a virus through the air.
Numerous Byron Bay residents felt that Mr Barnett was inconsistent with promoting his anti-vaxx views to high school students
Tom Barnett’s ad in The Byron Shire Echo earlier this month outlined his ‘vision’ for the area
He also ate raw chicken in a video to prove it was safe, saying ‘think for yourself, question everything’.
Barnett also boasted that he had an unusually high IQ – and claimed that when other children learned to open books, he had already memorized his times tables.
“When I did my final IQ and aptitude test, I was taken to a separate room and questioned to see if I was cheating,” he said.
The incumbent mayor of Byron shire is the independent Michael Lyon. He was chosen for the role in May 2021.
The NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, December 4.