GB News chairman Andrew Neil breaks silence after presenter takes the knee and viewers plummet

·2-min read
GB News has welcomed a number of high-profile presenters (PA)
GB News has welcomed a number of high-profile presenters (PA)

GB News chairman Andrew Neil has defended the channel after a presenter who took the knee live on air was suspended and viewings plummeted.

The broadcaster is currently on holiday but took to Twitter arguing that the new TV channel is still “finding its feet.”

“Start ups are fraught and fractious. GBNEWS is no exception,” he tweeted on Friday.

“But the news channel is finding its feet and has a great future. Watch this space.”

The audience dropped to zero on shows after a boycott over Guto Harri taking the knee in solidarity with the England national team.

It comes amid reports the channel’s director of news and programmes, John McAndrew has quit and Mr Harri has been taken off air “indefinitely” following the incident.

His on-screen appearance immediately sparked backlash on social media.

Friends of Mr Harri told The Guardian: “GB News is becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be – not defending free speech and combatting cancel culture but replicating it on the far right. Nasty.

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“It’s ridiculous to say he’s breached editorial standards and almost certainly defamatory. In reality it wasn’t a breach of editorial code but ‘sacked for offending the lynch mob’.”

The Standard has approached GB News representatives for further comment.

It comes after a GB News spokesperson apologised for the presenter taking the knee because it was an “unacceptable breach of our standards”.

The channel tweeted: “GB News stands four square against racism in all its forms. We do not have a company line on taking the knee. Some of our guests have been in favour, some against. All are anti-racist. We have editorial standards that all GB News journalists uphold.

“On Tuesday a contributing presenter took the knee live on air and this was an unacceptable breach of our standards.

“We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”

Audience figures hit rock bottom at 5pm on Wednesday when zero people were watching a programme co-hosted by ex-BBC presenter Simon McCoy and former Ukip spokesperson Alex Phillips, according to official television audience figures produced by rating agency Barb.

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GB News viewers plummet to zero after presenter takes the knee

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