Right Said Fred sparks backlash online after attending anti-lockdown protest
People take part in a 'We Do Not Consent' rally at Trafalgar Square, organized by Stop New Normal, to protest against coronavirus restrictions, in London, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)
TORONTO -- English pop band Right Said Fred has sparked backlash on social media after two of its members shared a photo of themselves attending an anti-lockdown protest in London.
Brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass came under fire after they tweeted a picture from the protest on Saturday.
The pair shared a photo of protesters holding signs that read, "The pandemic is a lie" and "A hug a day keeps the COVID away." Another sign referenced far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and branded the WHO the "World Hoax Organisation."
"There was a really good atmosphere in Trafalgar Square today," the brothers wrote alongside the picture.
The post drew quick criticism online for the "I'm Too Sexy" singers with followers accusing the pop stars of supporting coronavirus conspiracy theorists.
One Twitter user wrote, "I'd be very happy for you to go watch my Dr pals who have been working on ICU trying to save people with COVID since March."
A now former fan of the group tweeted, "You were one of my happiest musical memories. I'm frankly and deeply disappointed in you."
While one Twitter user joked that U.K. gathering limits are greater in size than the band's concert audiences.
"What the hell do Right Said Fred have against lockdown, the six person rule doubles their audience," the user wrote.
The brothers respond to the backlash in a scathing tweet filled with expletives, saying they would block any users who left hateful comments.
"If the best you've got is Far Right Said Fred… then don't be surprised if you're blocked for being predictable and boring," the brothers wrote. They added that "predictable insults deserve no better treatment."
When one followers called them out over the QAnon sign in the photo, they replied saying, "That's the foundation of free speech, allowing people to express themselves. It's irrelevant who we agree with or disagree with."
Britain has Europe's worst death toll from the pandemic, with nearly 42,000 confirmed deaths tied to COVID-19. New infections, hospitalizations and deaths have all risen sharply in recent weeks.
London, which is home to almost 9 million people, was added as an "area of concern" on the British government's COVID-19 watchlist on Friday, and could face new restrictions in the coming days if infections continue to rise.