Joe Wicks turned down Boris Johnson’s ‘not genuine’ health campaign request

Joe Wicks turned down Boris Johnson’s ‘not genuine’ health campaign request

The YouTube star Joe Wicks said he turned down the then prime minister Boris Johnson’s offer to front a public health campaign because he did not think it was “genuine”.

The fitness expert, who was awarded an MBE in 2022, said that he met Mr Johnson in early 2022 but thought his campaign lacked substance and was just a “PR thing”.

The 38-year-old, known as ‘The Body Coach’, said: “I was invited to 10 Downing Street, and I met Boris Johnson. He wanted me to be the face of an NHS campaign. But it didn’t feel right for me.”

Mr Wicks added: “I just didn’t feel passionate about it. It felt like a PR thing. You know – just shake hands and have a photo with him. It didn’t feel genuine.”

“It didn’t feel like it would have much impact. I want to do things in my time and energy that mean something.”

Mr Wicks, speaking to the health website Unfiltered, added: “It didn’t feel authentic. I just want to stick to what I’m good at, which is fitness content, and recipes that get people cooking.”

Mr Wicks – who said he turned down up to £10m from a supermarket chain to promote ready meals because he “wouldn’t want my nan eating them” – also criticised the growing popularity of anti-obesity drugs.

“I keep seeing all these articles about companies investing in this obesity drug,” he said.

“I can’t comment on the drugs, but I don’t think it helps the psychological issues of binge eating or over-eating because of poor mental health. It isn’t a cure. Ultimately, I think it’s a decision for businesses to get more revenue.”

Joe Wicks turned down Boris Johnson’s request (PA Archive)
Joe Wicks turned down Boris Johnson’s request (PA Archive)

It comes as Mr Johnson prepares to face the Covid inquiry hearing next month. The head of the civil service reportedly accused the then-PM at the height of the Covid pandemic of “Trump-level” dangerous behaviour.

In one message, Simon Case said that Mr Johnson wanted to declare “we’re over Covid”. He said that the approach would be “Trump-Bolsonaro levels of mad and dangerous”.

Former chancellor George Osborne has claimed Mr Johnson and key aides such as Dominic Cummings sent “disgusting and misogynistic” WhatsApps that will come out at the Covid inquiry.

Mr Johnson has revealed he is getting his own show on GB News – the latest Tory politician to join the right-wing TV channel as a presenter.

In a video posted on X, the former Tory leader said he was “excited” to sign up to the “remarkable” new channel – boasting that the show would allow him to share his “unvarnished views” on politics.

He joins a series of former Tory colleagues – including ally Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, current deputy chair Lee Anderson and fellow Brexiteer Nigel Farage – with their shows on the controversial channel.