‘No longer free’: Star’s weird mask rant
Australian musician Ziggy Alberts has copped a wave of backlash after claiming Melbourne's mandatory mask rule violates basic human freedoms.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that as of 11.59pm Wednesday, those living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a mask or other appropriate face-covering or risk a $200 fine.
Residents within these areas are already living under stage three lockdown restrictions, meaning they are only able to leave home for one of four reasons: food, exercise, work or education and caregiving.
Responding to the Premier's latest announcement in an Instagram Story to his more than 200,000 followers, Alberts declared he was in "complete opposition" to mask-wearing - before seemingly comparing the mandatory rule to Nazism.
"I just want to say my heart is with you Victoria," Alberts wrote.
"I'm in complete opposition of the government's decision to introduce mandated face masks in Melbourne when all it does is strips Australians of their basic rights in what is supposed to be a free society."
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In a second Story, he continued: "It's really quite simple.
"My mother and her family escaped communism in Hungary as a child to come to Australia.
"My great grandfather hid a Jewish family and an American pilot during Nazi rule in Holland and was killed for doing so. For trying to keep innocent people safe.
"There is no way I'm going to support, endorse or encourage mandatory face masks or lockdowns in a free country."
The singer/songwriter went on to claim that "our country is no longer free" when people can't leave home without covering their face or facing fines.
"Please put aside your fear and consider if you are willing to make these basic freedoms a subject of government consent," Alberts wrote.
"I'm not, and I'm not willing to force that upon anyone else."
The blowback on Twitter - including from Albert's own industry peers - was quick and severe.
LOL. Can we talk about Ziggy Alberts saying “It’s really that simple” before making the most outlandish comparison of wearing masks to communist dictatorship and Nazi rule.— Lucy Smith (@lcysmth) July 19, 2020
On Monday, Alberts took to Instagram again in an attempt to clarify his stance, and denied he'd compared the new mask regulations to Nazi Germany.
"I just told you my family history and that I don't agree in lockdowns or face masks being mandated and people being fined if they don't comply," he wrote.
"I didn't suggest you do not wear a face mask."
I don’t know what a Ziggy Alberts is but Sunshine Coast please come and collect your boy. Please! pic.twitter.com/wgt9ky3CD9— brendan maclean (@macleanbrendan) July 19, 2020
Ziggy Alberts trying to relate wearing face masks to hiding Jews during the Holocaust is all kinds of messed up.— Bridie (@bridie_cfield) July 19, 2020
ziggy alberts dude... jumping on your instagram platform with 200k+ followers and spreading misinformation about mask wearing and immunocompromised people is dangerous, uncompassionate and insensitive.— hannah (@JURASSlCWORLD) July 19, 2020
Dear people who think having to wear a mask is robbing you of your “basic rights”.— Gordi (@GordiMusic) July 19, 2020
You have clearly never experienced an actual infringement of your basic rights.
Just wear a mask. Don’t worry, you can still whisper your free-speech from beneath it.