Why has Fox News host not washed hands in 10 years?
Pete Hegseth claims ‘germs are not a real thing’, sends viewers into frenzy
New York: Fox News host Pete Hegseth has said that he has not washed his hands in a decade as he thinks "germs are not a real thing", sending viewers into a frenzy and triggering adverse social media comments.
Hegseth made the shocking admission on Sunday's 'Fox and Friends' episode. The network's spokeswoman later described Hegseth's comments as a "joke".
He said the infectious micro-organisms did not exist because they could not be seen with the naked eye.
"I inoculate myself. Germs are not a real thing. I can't see them, therefore they're not real," added the 38-year-old Harvard and Princeton graduate.
His remarks came after co-hosts Ed Henry and Jedediah Bila made fun of him for eating left-over pizza that had not been refrigerated.
"My 2019 resolution is to say things on air that I say off air," Hegseth added.
His comments were met with both support and concern on social media.
A Fox News spokeswoman told The Washington Post that Hegseth was joking, of course, which he later said was "obvious."
Hegseth later told USA Today that his remarks were intended to be a joke.
"We live in a society where people walk around with bottles of Purell (a hand sanitiser) in their pockets, and they sanitise 19,000 times a day as if that's going to save their life," Hegseth said.
"I take care of myself and all that, but I don't obsess over everything all the time."
Of the public reaction, he said it was ridiculous how people took things so "literally and seriously" so that their "heads explode".
The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says regular hand washing "is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others".
According to a scientific study published by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information, one gram (0.03oz) of human faeces - about the weight of a paper clip - can contain one trillion germs.
Bacteria that can be spread by unwashed hands include salmonella and E coli.
"Ewwww Pete Hegseth, stay the hell away from me," one social media user tweeted.
"Is there a ten-year-old available to enlighten Hegseth on this subject?" another viewer wrote.
US President Donald Trump - who has given more interviews to Fox than any other major network - has admitted on several occasions to being a germophobe.In his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, Mr Trump wrote: "One of the curses of American society is the simple act of shaking hands, and the more successful and famous one becomes the worse this terrible custom seems to get.
"I happen to be a clean hands freak. I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible," Trump was quoted as saying by the BBC.