East coast musician Ziggy Alberts has sparked controversy overnight for sharing a series of comments which attempted to explain how a mandatory mask order “strips Australians of their basic rights”.
The comments, which were shared on Alberts’ Instagram stories overnight, were posted just hours after the state of Victoria announced the the wearing of masks in public would be mandatory from Wednesday night in an effort to help stem the spread of COVID-19. The order stipulates that those who are caught not wearing a mask would be hit with a $200 fine.
Alberts took to Instagram soon afterwards to offer his sympathies to Victorians, noting he is in “complete opposition” of the government’s decision, while claiming that there are “many ways to protect a minority of immune compromised citizen (sic)” without the use of masks.
“It’s really quite simple,” he continued. “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. Because our country is no longer free when you can’t leave your house or face fines for not wearing something over your mouth when you try to leave.”
“Please put aside your fear and consider if you are willing to make these basic freedoms a subject of government consent,” he added. “I’m not, and I’m not willing to force that upon anyone else.”
While Alberts was met with a swift negative response from those who opposed his viewpoints, he was quick to thank others for offering their own opinions. He later took to Instagram to note he was not attempting to compare mask-wearing to Nazi Germany by sharing his family history.
“I didn’t suggest you do not wear a face mask. I didn’t suggest you to not isolate yourself if you are sick,” he explained. “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.
“I’m not going to delete any comments because at the end of the day, I’m glad we can all practice freedom of speech.”
Dear people who think having to wear a mask is robbing you of your “basic rights”.
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.
— Gordi (@GordiMusic) July 19, 2020
There is no space for the spread of misguided and misinformed rhetoric suggesting that wearing a mask is a breach of your freedoms as a human being. That messaging is dangerous, has no basis in science or medicine and will not solve anything
— Alex Lahey (@AlexLahey) July 19, 2020
I don’t believe in cancel culture, except for this guy. pic.twitter.com/SrSOV7Nypi
— Melody Forghani (@forghandi) July 19, 2020
A number of figures in the Australian musical community were quick to criticise Alberts for his comments, including the likes of Alex Lahey, and Sophie Payten, who in addition to performing under the name Gordi, works as a doctor.
“Dear people who think having to wear a mask is robbing you of your ‘basic rights’,” Payten began. “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.”
“There is no space for the spread of misguided and misinformed rhetoric suggesting that wearing a mask is a breach of your freedoms as a human being,” echoed Lahey moments later. “That messaging is dangerous, has no basis in science or medicine and will not solve anything.”
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Alberts has come under fire in recent weeks, with Pilerats sharing a story last month which noted how many of the lyrics in the singer’s single “Don’t Get Caught Up” seemed to be critical of both 5G and vaccinations.