Doctors raising concerns about plans for a new cancer centre in Cardiff have thrown the spotlight once again on public support for the controversial project by a contentious Welsh rugby commentator who has been condemned by television viewers for talking “some shit”, as well as being “so so thick”, and after he was filmed using a fire extinguisher in a dangerous prank.
Many of his controversial stances appear to fly in the face of guidelines for presenters using social media emphasised by the new Director General of the BBC Tim Davie.
Around 57 cancer experts have called for an independent review of the proposals for the new Velindre cancer hospital on land north of Whitchurch in the city, which have been supported on social media by the headline-grabbing commentator and former Welsh rugby international Jonathan Davies.
Mr Davies is President of Velindre Fundraising, and demanded of one of the campaigners against the scheme on social media: “Have you or anyone close to you ever been unfortunate enough to have cancer?”
But the advocate for a green space in that part of Cardiff hit back, and said: “Absolutely yes, many of those opposing the site are current patients at Velindre”.
Mr Davies was accused of being ‘misleading’, publishing ‘rubbish’ and ‘ranting’, after stating on social media that the plans for Velindre would leave 60 per cent of a meadow available to walkers when protesters say surveys have indicated all will be destroyed.
Contradicting him, one campaigner declared about the project: “The whole area will be bulldozed, £27 million of public money just to access this unsuitable site…”
Another cautioned: “Let’s talk Jonathan, not rant.”
Even on Saturday he incurred the wrath of rugby league fans when he was giving ‘expert’ commentary on the Salford Red Devils v Warrington Wolves Challenge Cup semi-final, and social media exploded with criticism.
It was claimed: “Jonathan Davies ruins these games for me”. There were complaints about his mispronunciation of ‘Salford’, he was described as a “dipshit”, and one rugby league fan said “Why do we have 2 have Jonathan Davies on rl 4BBC” with a picture of an upset emoji after the comment.
But Mr Davies has long been a figure who has attracted disturbing headlines.
Warnings were repeated about the hazards involved in the misuse of fire extinguishers after experts were shown shocking pictures from a video of Mr Davies using one to spray into the face of former international rugby referee, Nigel Owens, as he sat in his car while another person filming the dangerous stunt laughed, which was also posted on social media.
The escapade with a fire extinguisher was in the car park of an independent TV facilities house near BBC Cymru Wales (BBC CW) in Llandaff, Cardiff, in 2014 and has been condemned as “incredibly dangerous”.
It prompted a series of outraged comments at the time on a sports Facebook (FB) site.
One critic said: “…did he give any thought to what injuries he may have caused?…We all like a good laugh sadly this isn’t it”.
Another declared that Mr Davies was a “fucking prick”, while a further detractor stated that he didn’t think “people realise how dangerous CO2 extinguishers are”.
In the clip now on YouTube, Mr Owens escapes from the car running, but Mr Davies uses the fire extinguisher again, as the person filming it exclaims in Welsh “OH, NO!”, and Mr Owens then shouts “IDIOT!” at him pointing.
After stills were displayed from the film shot six years ago, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service issued a stern warning about the misuse of fire extinguishers.
A spokesperson told The Eye: “CO2 extinguishers can prove hazardous as they rapidly remove the oxygen from the atmosphere, therefore increasing the risk of asphyxiation when used in confined space.
Mr Davies also posted on social media a fake picture of one critic, a well-known Welsh rugby fan, wearing a Pontypridd RFC shirt but he was then slammed for “essentially fat shaming someone because they disagree with them”, and the observer linked the comment to @BBCSport @BBCNews 5liveSport and @BBCWalesNews, saying they should be “embarrassed”, and that it was a “Dick move”.
But Mr Davies has said on social media that The Eye’s reporting of all this was “negative journalism”, and a supporter of his, Marc Winchester, wrote on the Twitter thread: “I’ll whack him (our Editor Phil Parry)“.
This threat was described as a ‘joke’ by Mr Winchester, who has proclaimed he was a multi-millionaire but ran a convenience store.
Yet it was still reported to the police who mounted an investigation.
The fury of Mr Davies has too been directed at journalist Marcus Stead on social media after he had criticised what he views as the Welsh establishment.
He engaged in an extraordinary spat with him, again using Twitter, in which he branded Mr Stead, an “attention seeking nobody”, a “sad pathetic waste of time” and ‘hashtagged’ the words “absolute bell end”.
As well as being accused of talking “some shit”, being “so so thick”, and a “dipshit”, his commentary style has also been described recently as “annoying” and “irritating”. Pleas have been made, too, by angry BBC TV audience members during coverage of another Challenge Cup rugby league game, for officials to dispense with his services.
One critic wrote: “Please BBC get rid of Jonathan Davies”, another said: “Why the hell do we have to listen to Jonathan Davies”.
It was also stated by a separate fan watching the match on television, about executives: “…they ruin it with Jonathan Davies”.
Apart from criticism like this of Mr Davies’ commentary style, it seems the BBC’s social media guidelines may also have been ‘ruined’ with controversies surrounding his public attitudes…
Tomorrow – the sport governing body in Wales that tells fans to ‘behave’ on social media, despite one using Twitter to say he ‘despises’ Tories, and a supporters band calling a prominent politician a c*** but denying it.
Phil’s memories of his astonishing 37-year award-winning career in journalism (including 23 of them at The BBC) as he was gripped by the rare neurological disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!