Former UB40 singer forced to quit the band for not having Covid jab speaks out for first time
Matt Hoy has labelled the decision 'discrimination' in an exclusive chat with Mark Steyn
Former UB40 vocalist Matt Hoy has exclusively spoken to GB News’ Mark Steyn show for the first time since being forced to quit the band in June last year for not having the Covid jab.
Hoy was a member of the breakaway English reggae and pop band, UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell and Astro for eleven years before his departure last year.
He told GB News: “To have your entire career taken away from you over a jab is a terrifying prospect. This is discrimination.
“Being in the band was like having a second family, where was the loyalty?”
Hoy has suffered cardiovascular issues for a number of years and was advised in 2019 to take the flu jab.
He added: “After having been advised to take the flu jab due to my heart condition, I experienced severe adverse reactions including huge swelling in my lymph nodes and my heart fell out of rhythm.”
As a result, Hoy said: “I was advised by my general practitioner not to have the covid vaccine”.
“I put this to the band’s management but they completely disregarded it.”
Hoy has provided GB News with email evidence showing he was told that he could not continue working with the band without a Covid jab.
Hoy’s GP Dr Shereen Saleh said: “Every patient has various risk vs benefit profiles and should be considered and consented on an individual basis as per good medical practice.
“Taking his risk factors into consideration along with his medical history and history of an adverse reaction to a previous vaccine, the risks outweighed the benefits.
“Alongside the fact that the vaccine does not confer protection to others, there was no need for him to have the vaccine for the sake of his band members”
The band, formed in 1978 and are best known for their hit singles such as Red Red Wine and Can’t Help Falling in Love. Founding member and lead singer Ali Campbell left the band in 2008 and Hoy joined him as a vocalist in 2010. In 2014, long time member Astro left the original UB40 to join Campbell and Hoy to form breakaway band UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell and Astro. Astro died later in 2021 from a “short illness”.
Hoy has long suffered from mental health issues and leaving the band "greatly exacerbated” his depression.
"My facebook page became a community for those suffering from mental health issues as a result of looming vaccine mandates as well as the effects of lockdown.
"To lose one's job is to lose one's livelihood. I would know.
"We have completely underestimated the effects of these policies on our mental health. It is the great scandal of this crisis"
After Hoy’s departure in July 2021, he released the following statement:
“Back in early May it was made clear to me by @UB40 Featuring Ali and Astro’s management, that unless I received the covid vaccine, I would no longer be permitted to be a part of the band.
"Unfortunately I have an underlying medical condition, which leaves me unable to receive the jab.
"I have had an amazing 10 years with the band, but unfortunately it can be no more.
"Thank you for all your endless support, love and encouragement.”
UB40 released the following statement at the time: "Firstly we would like to wholeheartedly thank Matt Hoy for his contributions to our projects and live shows for the last decade.
“This has been a very hard pandemic for the world and our industry to navigate and livelihoods still remain in the balance for many, whilst we respect everybody’s freedom of choice and decision regarding taking the vaccine unfortunately the EU and many other countries have quarantine periods and legislation in place that makes touring and performing incredibly difficult for us to be able to plan for obligated dates.
"The vaccine is backing everybody into a corner, nobody should be forced to take it however we are restricted in how we can play whilst being able to tour 'freely' and trying to limit as many issues as possible.
"We remain in limbo regarding travel, live shows continue to be rescheduled, could there have been resolve? Most probably as nobody knows what’s around the corner but this was Matt’s decision to leave.
"We would like to wish Matt all the best in his future endeavours and thank him once again.”
GB News has approached UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell for comment