Gary Lineker has opened up about his disagreement with the BBC over his tweet about immigration which saw him taken off air due to the corporation’s impartiality standards
Gary Lineker has branded his impartiality row with the BBC a “lovers’ tiff”.
Last year, the former footballer turned broadcaster was taken off air after sharing his personal views on X, formerly known as Twitter, in turn going against the license-payer-funded corporation. Individuals who work for the Beebs are to remain impartial and refrain from sharing any personal political views, including on their own social media channels.
Guidelines listed on the BBC website state: “They (presenters, reporters and correspondents) may provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence, but may not express personal views on such matters publicly, including in any BBC-branded output or on personal blogs and social media.”
Gary, 63, expressed his personal views on the Tory government’s asylum policy – which he criticised – and was subsequently taken off air. However, after uproar and support from colleagues including Jermaine Jenas, who refused to be on air without his co-host, Gary was reinstated.
Speaking out about the drama, Gary told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch this week: “Let’s call it a lovers’ tiff. We’ve been together a long time and these things happen. I think it was a little bit unfortunate, but we’re all fine now.” Gary’s row with the corporation was sparked when he responded to a video of the former home secretary Suella Braverman, who was discussing stopping people entering the UK via the English Channel.
Lineker responded: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.” A later post saw him pen: “This is just an immeasurably cruel policy.” Gary later went on to say Braverman’s comments were similar to language used in 1930s Germany. “I think that is factually accurate.” Braverman said that new laws would help to detain and remove asylum seekers attempting to gain the UK via a small boat.
Speaking to Men’s Health UK, Gary later said: “I talked about the use of words like ‘invasion’ and ‘swarms’ and ‘criminals’ and ‘rapists’, which I think we should be very careful about because it has real-life consequences. I wasn’t abusive, I wasn’t saying she [Braverman] was a Nazi.”
Elsewhere, Lineker revealed despite X being a “cesspit” he has no intentions of leaving Elon Musk’s social media platform. “It’s always been a bit of a cesspit but it’s become increasingly toxic,” he explained. “You can’t have nuanced conversations on there any more, or debates, so I’ve stepped away from that side of things. I tweet my stuff but I don’t look at Twitter any more.”
He said that the micro-blogging site was now full of “vitriolic” users. “So I think for your mental health it’s quite important not to read too much of that – I don’t enjoy the experience now. I think it’s been good for me, because now I can listen to podcasts and spend more time reading than scrolling.”
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