When word spread that Pete Evans was closing his Facebook account, people like Kaz Ross were optimistic but sceptical.
The political science expert knows too well how alternative "health and wellness" gurus like the former My Kitchen Rules judge can influence the public and perpetuate their often dangerous and misinformed ideas.
The lecturer predicted that brands that came out publicly dumping Pete this month would walk back their criticism – as essential oil multi-level marketing company doTERRA did.
But now it appears Evans hasn't left Facebook after all.
The celebrity chef announced he was closing his account with 1.5 million followers nearly a week ago, but is still regularly posting to his page.
"He will find that without Facebook it's harder to draw traffic to his page," Dr Ross said of Evans' move to his Evolve platform that he has been promoting.
"They've been preparing to move to a separate economic network for a long time.
"We talk about whether he's stupid, crazy, alternative – that's the wrong approach – Pete Evans is a brand and we have to look at what is the brand doing to build it's brand market share?"
Evans announced he was quitting Facebook after being dumped by his publisher, Channel 10 and other brands he was associated with because of his controversial posts, most recently sharing a neo-Nazi cartoon.
He said he would not be "censored ever again".
"He will just ride it out," said Dr Ross, who has become an expert on how the far right uses racism against the Chinese to foster neo-Nazi claims.
"When he gets censored, he can use that and incorporate that into his message.
"The message is we have the true story on health and wellness and the mainstream media and the global cabal don't want you to know this."
Global cabal theories centre around the idea that there is a single sinister group of people who secretly control the world.
"The more censored he is, the more it builds his brand because he's saying they don't want the truth to get out," Dr Ross said.
"His fan base really swamps the media, his Facebook page, anyone writing about him and every time he's censored or critiqued, it proves his point.
"Controversy is good for him."
Dr Ross said she knew companies would renege on their dumpings because of the backlash they would get from his followers in doing so.
The same day doTERRA took a stand against him, it later came out saying the company had "felt mounting pressure from a public controversy" and had "reacted with a statement that failed to receive the required thoughtful review that it merited".
Dr Ross said Evans might have been cancelled this Christmas but "you'll see him back on the shelves pretty soon".
'Really bad this year'
With the coronavirus pandemic fuelling conspiracy theories in 2020, Dr Ross said the alternative health and wellness world had embraced them because it suited their brands.
"Anti-Chinese sentiment has been really bad this year, particularly in Melbourne," she said, having started her career in Asian studies.
"The alternative wellness space people have latched on to QAnon and general conspiracy theories because they're good for their brand.
"I think that a lot of people have become more aware of Pete Evans through the conspiracy theory stuff and you see a lot of it with the wellness and anti-vax crew on Instagram.
"These people are getting a lot of exposure because of coronavirus.
"They can build their brand about health and healing and also position themselves against the mainstream media."
QAnon is a wide-ranging, unfounded conspiracy theory that centres on the idea US President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against corrupt and elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media.
In a year where things "seem out of control" Dr Ross said you could see why people turned to wellness narratives.
"In a pandemic, people want to believe a simple narrative, and the alternative wellness movement offers that," she said.
"If you're a good person with good intentions and eat nice, clean food, you won't get sick, and that's very empowering.
"You can control your health by eating essential oils and grain-fed beef or whatever they do, and you can ward off illness, and that's a premise of the wellness industry – your intentions can create health. But sometimes you get sick, it just happens, you can't control everything."
Technique Pete uses to draw people in
Dr Ross said it was easy for people just to think of Pete Evans as a personality but he used that to his advantage.
"He puts himself out as a natural, authentic person with a disarming smile and he'll say I don't know, I'm just asking the questions," she said.
"That's his technique. But you should know, you're head of a pretty big brand – it's your business to know."
She highlighted how a huge number of people were actually required to keep Evans' brand going.
"The alternative wellness people, they are their own brand and there are huge numbers of people required to keep his business going," she said.
"When you think of it, you just think of Pete Evans as just the individual."
Dr Ross said another technique Evans used was plausible deniability when he posted the cartoon of the black sun and "walked back from it".
"It's a tactic used all the time by the alt-right, since about 2015," she said.
"You post a dodgy meme and say oh no, I didn't know it meant that.
"It's a dog whistle to those that understand it and then you can deny it if you're ever accused."
After Evans was condemned for sharing the cartoon, he later came out saying he didn't know what it represented and had to look up what a neo-Nazi was.
Dr Ross said Evans was not a neo-Nazi, simply an opportunist.
She said a number of the conspiracy theorist types had started to monetise those opportunities.
Alongside the pandemic she said those identities were also fuelled by the anti-vax movement.
Dr Ross said the anti-vaxxers claimed they were suppressed by the mainstream media.
"Someone like Pete Evans gets so much attention from so-called mainstream media, which itself is very misleading, because he does get coverage – it's just the things he says are really stupid – it doesn't mean there is a cover-up of truth," she said.
Dr Ross said the problems with the promises spruiked by alternative wellness types were they were not medically true.
"Nobody is going to say eating healthy is bad for you; it's just you need to be guided by science and science is contradictory, it isn't a straightforward process," she said.
"It's not we've got the answer now. This is the way science works and people don't think about contradictory science views."