United Kingdom

YouTubers dupe anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn into taking 'bundle of cash' to 'ignore' the AZ vaccine

A video has been shared online which appears to show anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn was willing to accept £10,000 in exchange for an end to criticising AstraZeneca in his speeches. 

The prank was set up by YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners who pose as stakeholders in AstraZeneca who are concerned about the negative impact of Piers Corbyn's anti-vaccine speeches.

The comedy duo filmed the encounter which saw them trying to convince the former Labour leader's brother to take £10,000 he thought came from AstraZeneca to stop criticising their vaccine.

What he actually accepted was an envelope full of monopoly money in exchange for promising to focus on Pfizer and Moderna instead of the AZ jab.

In the clip, which has gone viral on social media, Pieters can be seen purchasing shares worth £100 in AstraZeneca to ensure he could legally pose a stakeholder in the company.

This month, Piers Corbyn (pictured) led a crowd of anti-vaxxers in Brighton who forced a vaccination centre to suspend operations. He called those administering the jabs 'scum'

 The prank was set up by YouTuber and comedian Josh Pieters (left) and magician and presenter Archie Manners (right) who teamed up to pose as interested parties in the scenario

Josh Pieters (left) and Archie Manners (right) arranged a meeting with Piers Corbyn (centre) where he appeared to accept £10,000 in cash in exchange for 'ignoring' the AstraZeneca jab

They then get in touch with Piers Corbyn via an email proposing a donation to his 'Stop New Normal' campaign to which Corbyn replies and agrees to meet up.

The pranksters arranged a meeting in London's Sloane Square and set up a restaurant with hidden cameras.

Once the meeting begins, Pieters tells Corbyn his father owns a very successful restaurant chain in South Africa and implies the family has a number of other businesses and investments.

He then adds: 'One of our main interests, funnily enough, is we have share holds in the AstraZeneca vaccine.

'Can you believe that? It’s not from a personal standpoint, it’s more of a case that it’s good business.'

In the clip, Josh (right) poses as the son of a businessman who owns a chain of restaurants in South Africa and has also bought shares in the AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company

To ensure the prank was legal, Josh actually purchased shares worth £100 of AstraZeneca

Pieters then goes on to suggest how they could help his campaign in exchange for a favour.

 The comedian says: 'If we can help your campaign in any way then that's obviously going to help us. We've got shared interests.

'We actually even brought something along today that is just a token of our intention of helping out with your campaign.'

Manners then lifts out an envelope containing £10,000 in real cash and shows it to Piers Corbyn who says 'wow' and calls it 'fantastic'.

Pieters continues: 'This is obviously just a statement of intent. We'd love to keep funding you so there's £10,000 there.'

Piers Corbyn appears to be excited by the cash offered by someone he appears to believe is an AstraZeneca shareholder before he sets out his terms for the agreement.

Pieters (right) and Manners (centre) use sleight of hand to replace the real cash with monopoly money before Piers (left) appears to accept the envelope to help campaign 'Stop New Normal'

When Piers is shown the real £10k he acts excited, describing the cash from AZ as 'fantastic'

He tells the duo: 'As long as I can accept it with no insistence on any policy changes or anything that I'm doing.'

Manners then agrees that they would not ask for policy changes but suggests that if anything could be done for Piers' campaign to focus on Pfizer and Moderna, 'that would be useful'.

Corbyn then said 'yeh' to Pieters' request that AstraZeneca be ignored in his future campaign activity.

The video appears to show Corbyn writing down benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine, a jab that he had previously campaigned against.

The pranksters then use sleight of hand to switch out the envelope of real cash and swap it with one stuffed with monopoly money.

To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, Piers tells the duo: 'If people ask me where the money came from, I will just say from a businessman who runs restaurants.'

Piers Corbyn and anti-vaxxer Kate Shemirani speak to crowds in Trafalgar Square last week

He then assures the pranksters he 'wouldn't say anything about' the money coming from AZ.

Corbyn then appears to claim that a focus on Pfizer and Modern 'would happen anyway without any interference'.

Josh Pieters has a history of targeting controversial figures to feature in his videos and last year appeared to trick Katie Hopkins into flying to Prague and accepting a fake award. 

Piers Corbyn told MailOnline: 'The video has been very heavily edited with dishonest commentary and leaves out my repeated statements that anything we accept has to be unconditional.

'It is false that I agreed any change in policy whatsoever and I stated to these imposters that all Covid vaccines are dangerous and we weren't changing any of our views against vaccines and vaccine passporting.

'The video starts off with a false claim. The emails they sent said nothing at all about the interests of these gentleman.

'This was only revealed at the meeting. He claimed he made his money from a restaurant chain and later said he had an investment in a vaccine company which made him feel guilty and he wanted to give a gift because of his feelings of guilt.

'I agreed nothing about limiting or changing what we have been and will continue to say about the various Covid vaccines.'

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