Watch: GB News reads out message from ‘Mike Oxlong’
GB News has been mocked by viewers after callers used X-rated pseudonyms in order to trick the presenters live on air.
The news channel, which brands itself as “anti-woke”, only launched on Sunday, but has already fallen victim to at least two pranks from callers using fake names during daily phone-ins.
Michelle Dewsberry and Simon McCoy have both received these messages, with “Mike Hunt” and “Mike Oxlong” both being read out live on air.
Viewers were quick to pick up on the joke names and shared the laughs online.
One person watching from home stated that “as a trainee producer at Sky News, almost the first thing I was taught was never to put anyone called Mike Hunt on air”.
Another couldn’t help but see the funny side, and added: “Ok I know I said I wouldn’t tweet about it but I can’t stop laughing.”
Ok I know I said I wouldn’t tweet about it but I can’t stop laughing pic.twitter.com/tV1PLJW52v
— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) June 15, 2021
The channel, fronted by Andrew Neil, received heavy criticism even before its launch for its perceived political stance, with some stating it was the “British Fox News”.
However, its team have denied this, saying it is “opinion-led” and positioning it as a rival to traditional rolling news broadcasters such as the BBC and Sky.
Neil said in his opening monologue on Sunday: “If you want fake news, lies, distortion of the facts, conspiracy theories… then GB News is not for you.”
He also said it would “puncture the pomposity of our elites in politics, business, media and academia and expose the growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is”.
When the channel finally went live however, it was heavily criticised for its sound and picture quality, with many viewers having difficulty watching.
When I was a trainee producer at Sky News, almost the first thing I was taught was never to put anyone called Mike Hunt on air … https://t.co/jno7HaQKNE
— Ruaridh Arrow (@ArrowontheHill) June 15, 2021
That didn’t stop the channel from having promising early ratings, as figures show the broadcaster beat both BBC and Sky's news channels for viewers during its first three hours.
Since launch, numerous companies have since pulled their advertising, claiming they had never agreed to promote their products on the channel in the first place.
This includes cider company Kopperberg, the Open University and Nivea Skincare.
The channel has also come under fire after Lady Colin Campbell defended Jeffrey Epstein on air by claiming he “wasn’t technically a paedophile” and was instead an ‘ephebophile’ (an adult sexually attracted to adolescents), while discussing Prince Andrew’s former relationship with the convicted sex trafficker.
She later added that the clarification didn’t make him less of a "bad man" for his actions.
GB News is available on Sky, Virgin, Freeview and online.
Watch: Andrew Neil launches GB News with vow to 'puncture the pomposity of our elites'