A British comedian's Twitter account has been suspended for "inciting violence" against Downing Street's chief medical adviser.
Lee Hurst, formerly a regular guest on the BBC's sport-themed quiz show They Think It's All Over, was reported on Tuesday for tweets which encouraged a repeat of the recent public harassment of Professor Chris Whitty.
Mobile phone video footage emerged on Monday of Whitty being grabbed and taunted by two rowdy young men as he walked through a central London park — prompting Home Secretary Priti Patel to order a review of security arrangements for the official.
"Whatever has happened to Chris Whitty is not enough", Hurst tweeted to his 18,000 followers on Tuesday morning.
"If there was no video footage of Chris Whitty we would have been told he was beaten up", he wrote in another post, questioning the seriousness of the incident.
Hurst's account appeared to have been reinstated by Wednesday afternoon. A remaining tweet from Tuesday spoke of a "pile-on" against the comedian and alleged his account and website had been hacked by opponents.
— Lee Hurst - Not voting LibLabCon + Proud Covidiot (@LeeHurstComic) June 29, 2021
"I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty", Prime Minister Boris Johnson said following the incident. "I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it".
The incident was not the first time Whitty had been abused on camera. In February, he was subjected to insults while queuing to buy lunch from a street vendor.
— Matt Vickers MP (@Matt_VickersMP) February 2, 2021
Hurst was previously suspended from Twitter in March for mocking teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
"As soon as Greta discovers c***, she’ll stop complaining about the single use plastic it’s wrapped in", he wrote.