Jamie Oliver’s ‘Eton Mess’ protest sees ‘powerful’ turnout despite backlash

The celebrity chef organised a protest outside Downing Street following Boris Johnson’s obesity U-turn

Laura Hampson
Friday 20 May 2022 15:24 BST
Jamie Oliver protests Boris Johnson’s U-turn on strategy to tackle obesity

Jamie Oliver’s “Eton Mess” protest saw a powerful turnout on Friday despite the celebrity chef facing backlash.

Oliver staged the protest to call out the government’s U-turn on its anti-obesity strategy, which has seen it delay a ban on buy-one-get-one-free deals for unhealthy food products.

For the protest, Oliver encouraged members of the public to turn up at number 10 with bowls of the dessert at 12.30pm on Friday 20 May.

In a video posted to Twitter, a protestor wrote: “POWERFUL turnout with @jamieoliver outside 10 Downing Street.

“Together we’re calling for the Prime Minister to put our children’s health above politics.”

But the action sparked backlash online, with social media users condemning the chef for protesting cheap food during the spiralling cost of living crisis which has caused the worst drop in living standards since the 1950s.

Chef Jamie Oliver takes part in the What An Eton Mess demonstration outside Downing Street, London
Chef Jamie Oliver takes part in the What An Eton Mess demonstration outside Downing Street, London (PA)

One Twitter user said: “Jamie Oliver is still pushing Boris Johnson to ban 2 for 1 food deals … during a cost of living crisis? Because of some imaginary threat they have to childhood obesity levels? Jamie Oliver is more scared of seeing fat kids than starving kids.”

Another Twitter user, journalist Paula Akpan, said: “It’s weird because Jamie Oliver was awfully quiet while Marcus Rashford & Jack Monroe, among many, were actively taking on child food poverty? Instead of focusing on his collapsed restaurant chain and his career-long pantomime as a ‘chef’, he’s back in poor people’s business.”

Broadcaster, Sophie Corcoran, said: “Millionaire Jamie Oliver wants to make food more expensive for ordinary people battling the cost of living yet somehow thinks he’s the ‘good guy’.”

Oliver previously said the Downing Street protest would symbolise “the privilege and the mess that is our British government and its inability to do the right thing”.

“I really need your help guys you can do it in a lunch break, ask your boss, but please join me to reassure Boris Johnson and all of his ministers that this child health strategy is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he added.

The Independent has contacted Oliver’s reps for comment.

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