GB News host Guto Harri has reportedly been suspended after public reprimand by the station’s “anti-wake” bosses for taking his knee live on television in protest of the racist abuse against black English football stars .
Ex-BBC political correspondent Harri and his co-host Mercy Muroki spoke about the heinous abuse three Lions stars Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received online on Game.
Critics have previously pointed out that anyone who goes on their knees, including police officers and sports stars, runs the risk of endorsing some of the leftist ideas promoted by Black Lives Matter and fighting racism.
Mr. Harri then went on his knee himself, triggering a crowd boycott and a public address from GB News. In a statement, the broadcaster said it was “unacceptable” for a presenter to get on his knees and accused Mr. Harri of violating his editorial charter.
The Guardian has now reported that the management of the station has suspended Mr Harris. A GB News spokesman reportedly could not confirm whether Mr Harri was leaving the station or whether other key employees are still at the station when the newspaper was raised about it. MailOnline has reached out to the channel and Mr. Harris for a comment.
Friends of Mr. Harri hit back on the channel, telling the Guardian: “It is ridiculous to say that he violated editorial standards and almost certainly defamatory. In reality it was not a violation of the editorial code, but a “dismissal for insulting the lynch mob”.
Mr. Harris had told the audience on Tuesday, “I’ll tell you where I am. I never understood why people find this offensive. I can see that and I was more of one of those people who thought we really have to do this at every football game, can’t we just enjoy every sport we play?
“But after seeing how close to the surface, how deeply ingrained, how hideously ugly racism is among some English fans over the past few days, I fully understand why this squad consistently thought we had to say day after day.” out that racism is not on.
“And in retrospect, I may have underestimated how close the racism is to the surface, I actually understand it.”
GB News said on Twitter: “GB News stands against racism in all its forms. We don’t have a knee flexion line. Some of our guests were for it, others against it. All are anti-racist. We have editorial standards that all GB News journalists adhere to.
“A contributing host aired The Knee live on Tuesday and this was an unacceptable violation of our standards. We have failed both sides of the argument by oversimplifying a very complex subject. ‘
Mr Harris defended his actions last night, saying: “GB News is all about freedom of expression; Have debates that others don’t.
“English footballers have made it clear that when they get on their knees they are making a clear statement against racism (and not supporting the narrow divisive goals of the BLM). I support you.’
Chairman Andrew Neil has so far been silent about the controversy after telling viewers he was saying goodbye – just two weeks after the station launched after what he called a “rocky start”. The former Sunday Times editor reportedly went on vacation to his primary residence in the south of France, but there is no public return date for his flagship show.
A GB News presenter was convicted of an “unacceptable breach of standards” by the bosses after taking his knee live on television in protest at the racist slurs against black English football stars following the Three Lions’ loss to Italy
Guto Harri and his GB News co-host Mercy Muroki spoke about the heinous abuse during the show on Tuesday, in which Mr Harri admitted that he “understands” why footballers take the knee – an anti-racist gesture made by the last year’s Black Lives Matter protests – before every game
Amid a Twitter backlash from social media users stunned by Mr. Harris’ gesture on the “Anti-Wake” channel, GB News publicly reprimanded its host. On his official Twitter account it says: “GB News stands against racism in all its forms. We don’t have a company line to take the knee ‘
Cardiff born Mr Harri, 55, is a former BBC political correspondent and spin doctor of Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London. At the BBC, Mr Harris’s reporting career spanned Westminster, New York and Rome to politics and business.
Scottish presenter Neil Oliver backed his colleague’s decision to bend his knees and tweeted: “My @GBNEWS teammate @Guto_Harri is right to say and do what he thinks is right. I do the same. That is the ethos of the channel. Speak freely. We don’t all agree – that’s the point or where is the debate? ‘
Twitter users also slammed GB News, with the comic Danny Wallace sarcastically writing: “Anti-racist gestures in solidarity with an abused England national soccer team are an unacceptable violation of GB News standards, understand.”
A second social media user tweeted, “People will be surprised to know you have standards,” while a third person wrote, “Someone who takes a stand against racism is an“ unacceptable violation of your standards ”? Sounds like a wonderful place to work. ‘
A fourth asked, “What about freedom of expression? I thought you were all that? ‘
It is not clear whether Mr. Harri disregarded GB News’ editorial charter, which states that the broadcaster defends the “right of every individual to form and share his or her views” and provides “clarity on complex and contentious issues”.
The charter states, “We will find out what is happening, present facts clearly and honestly, and ensure that our reporting is well-sourced, facts verified, and all data used is robust and accurate.
“If we do something wrong, we will say it – and explain what happened. We will present our programs in a way that respects the individual and leads to a more informed community and nation. We value freedom of expression, but not by causing unjustified insults or harming our audiences, especially in relation to our vulnerable viewers.
“We are not afraid of controversial topics. We will take an open and honest look at the world, but we are sensitive to complex issues and protect privacy, unless an overriding public interest outweighs this expectation. ‘
It follows reports that social media companies have shared personal information on individuals accused of sharing racist posts online after England’s last penalty shoot-out at Euro 2020.
Harri defended his actions last night and wrote on Twitter: “GB News is all about freedom of expression”
Harry Kane and Declan Rice both kneeled in the Three Lions’ Euros game against Austria last month
Twitter and Facebook have worked “very closely” with investigative police officers, who say they are investigating dozen of people’s racist tweets after five people were arrested after Sunday’s final.
The tech giants will provide names, emails and IP addresses of users who are believed to have sent discriminatory messages at the request of the authorities, the Times reports.
The UK Football Policing Unit yesterday announced an update on its investigation into abusive posts against Rashford, Sancho and Saka in the wake of the Three Lions’ penalty shoot-out to Italy.
Three of the suspects have already been publicly identified – plasterer Brad Pretty, 49, of Folkestone, Kent; Real estate agent Andrew Bone, 37, of Sale, Cheshire; and child soccer coach Nick Scott, 50, of Powick, Worcestershire.
A fourth suspect, a 37-year-old man from Ashton-upon-Mersey, Greater Manchester, was arrested yesterday, officials said, before a fifth, a 42-year-old man from Runcorn, was arrested by Cheshire police.
Twitter said it removed more than 1,000 posts in the 24 hours during and after the game and banned a number of accounts for violating its rules. Facebook said it was also quick to remove offensive comments on its platform and Instagram.
Data from analytics firm Crisp, which works with high profile football clubs, found that English players saw 12,500 hate messages on social media, including banana and monkey emojis, during Euro 2020.
The abuse of 10,000 accounts was targeted directly at gamers via Twitter and Instagram and includes comments on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and extreme personal abuse and threats of harm, including against family members.
The number of abusive accounts is equivalent to 3 percent of all users who write to players’ accounts during the tournament.
Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, told the Times that bugs in the company’s detection software allowed abusive posts to slip through, but they have now been fixed.
He stated: “It is absolutely not okay to post racist emojis or any kind of hate speech on Instagram”.
A statement by the UKFPU said: “Following England’s defeat to Italy on Sunday, a spate of racist comments targeting some of the team’s black players appeared on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“The UKFPU is currently conducting an investigation into hate crimes, with a dedicated team of investigators working through a large number of reports from across the country. So far, dozens of data requests have been submitted to social media companies and four people have been arrested by local police. ‘