'We don't peddle hate': Andrew Neil hits out at advertising boycott of GB News
Andrew Neil has insisted GB News does not 'peddle hate' as he hit out at businesses who pulled adverts from the new television channel.
GB News launched on Sunday and promised to present news from outside the London bubble and to take a critical stance on "cancel culture" but has faced backlash for its perceived right wing stance.
Former BBC presenter and Sunday Times Editor Neil is chairman of GB News and is one of its primary presenters.
In recent days several companies including Ikea, Kopparberg, Octopus Energy and the Open University have pulled their adverts from the channel.
The founder of Octopus Energy Greg Jackson said they did not advertise on channels "whose primary purpose is the distribution of hate."
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After the quote was published in the media Jackson later clarified on Twitter that this statement was not directed specifically at GB News and they had paused advertising on the channel so they could see their output "before deciding whether to advertise."
In response to this tweet, Neil said: "Maybe you should boycott the media that’s reporting you out of context instead of GB News.
"Have a look at our content. You’ll find no hate. Let me know if you want to advertise. And I’ll let you know if we want your ads. Or whether we organise a boycott of you."
He later added: "I resent even the thought that a channel of which I was chairman would peddle hate. You should know better."
Sam Bright, a reporter for Byline Times commented saying: "A direct quote from your flagship presenter on air three days ago: 'doomsday scientists and public health officials have taken control. They are addicted to power and the Government’s 15-month-long, never-ending scare campaign.'
"Seems pretty full of hate to me."
In response, Neil pointed out he was the flagship presenter and did not say this or share the viewpoint but said GB News "believes in free speech, even for presenters! It has nothing to do with hate."
He then accused Bright of not having "any examples of hate, do you?"
Neil said before the channel launched he was not too concerned about boycotts of GB News and believed in the end boycotts would attract more viewers.
He told the Evening Standard: “It’s all good publicity. For everybody that wants to boycott there are about 10 people who are going to watch.
“I am not worried about that. It only becomes a problem if you don’t stand up to them and I can assure you we will.”
GB News aims to be opinion led unlike the mainstream broadcasters like BBC and Sky which it lists as its competitors.
Critics have labelled it a British version of Fox News, the conservative American channel but GB News has rejected this.
Critics have also raised questions about its funding from backers in the US and Dubai as well as pointing out despite its focus on getting out of London it is based in the centre of the capital.
Stop Funding Hate, which has urged businesses not to advertise on the channel, said: "GB News' multi-million pound backers can subsidise them if they want to, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to.
"Brands are free to choose where they do and don't advertise, and the public are free to speak out and seek to influence that choice."
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