GB News director of programming 'quits after row over presenter taking knee'
GB News director of programming John McAndrew has reportedly quit, after the channel was involved in a row over a presenter taking the knee live on air.
The network has faced various obstacles since it launched in June this year, but now McAndrew, who was considered second-in-command, is thought to have called it a day.
Sources have told The Guardian that McAndrew resigned, and the broadcaster is now contending with other staff who are considering leaving.
They added that he had come under pressure to ‘dial down the focus on local reporting and free debate in favour of full-blooded culture war topics, so chose to resign’.
As well as technical blunders and plummeting viewers, GB News has faced controversy over the past few days after presenter Guto Harri took the knee after speaking about the racist abuse that Black members of the England football squad have faced since their defeat against Italy at the Euro 2020 final.
Harri said that he ‘gets’ why the England men’s team refused to listen to critics about taking the knee as a statement against racism.
As Harri knelt down on one knee on air, he said that he understands that it is an ‘important gesture’, prompting some GB News viewers to accuse the station of being ‘too woke’.
In a statement released on Twitter, GB News said that it ‘stands four square against racism in all its forms’.
The channel outlined that it does not ‘have a company line on taking the knee’, with some guests ‘in favour’ and others ‘against’ it.
‘All are anti-racist. We have editorial standards that all GB News journalists uphold,’ the statement said.
In a second tweet, GB News added: ‘On Tuesday a contributing presenter took the knee live on air and this was an unacceptable breach of our standards.’
Over an hour after releasing the statement, GB News shared a third tweet on the issue, stating: ‘We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.’
In a tweet shared earlier this week, Harri defended his decision to take the knee live on GB News, writing that the channel is ‘about free speech’ and ‘having the debates others won’t.
‘English footballers have made it clear that when they take the knee they are making a clear statement about rejecting racism (not endorsing the narrow divisive aims of BLM). I support them,’ he added.
Metro.co.uk has contacted reps for GB News for comment.
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