TV watchdog Ofcom has said it is assessing comments made by This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes about 5G and the coronavirus.
Holmes was criticised for causing “untold damage” after he said it was “very easy” to dismiss the conspiracy theory that claims a link between the technology and the illness “because it suits the state narrative”.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said the regulator had received 419 complaints, and added: “We are assessing this programme in full as a priority.”
The ITV presenter, 60, attempted to clarify his comments on Tuesday.
“Every theory relating to such a connection has been proven to be false and we would like to emphasise that,” he said.
“However, many people are rightly concerned and looking for answers and that’s simply what I was trying to do to impart yesterday.
“But for the avoidance of any doubt I want to make it clear no scientific evidence to substantiate any of those 5G theories. I hope that clears that up now”.
Holmes’ initial comments came after another presenter, Alice Beer, had described the conspiracy theories as “ridiculous” and “incredibly stupid”.
He had replied: “It’s very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative”.
He added: “I totally agree with everything you are saying but what I don’t accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don’t know it’s not true.
“No one should attack or damage or do anything like that but it’s very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative.”
The presenter added: “That’s all I would say, as someone with an inquiring mind.”
The spread of the online conspiracy theories has been linked to a spate of attacks on phone masts.
Last week, the head of BT’s consumer division, Marc Allera, told Sky News that the company’s engineers were being verbally and even physically abused over the “nonsense theories”.
Among those who criticised Mr Holmes was Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Prof Wren said: “I welcome enquiring minds but this needs to be based on some fact and not pedalled as a conspiracy, as this causes untold damage.”
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Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, added: “The world of infectious disease experts, covering a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, countries and employers are united in that we know how transmission of a virus works.
“Holmes is not known for his scientific expertise and appears to have very little in the way of relevant qualifications, experience or any kind of written track record in peer-reviewed journals.”
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, dismissed claims that COVID-19 is caused by 5G signals as “complete rubbish”.
He said: “The opinions of the mainstream media or the state hardly come into the debate; numerous doctors and scientists around the world have said that the disease is caused by a virus, something completely different to a mobile phone signal.”
More than 11,000 people with coronavirus have died in UK hospitals, among more than 120,000 deaths worldwide.