Guto Harri hits back: GB News presenter speaks out after taking the knee row explodes
Nigel Farage announces his new show on GB News
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Mr Harri’s actions sparked a flood of complaints from angry GB News viewers, with some accusing the network of having gone “woke”. The channel later released a statement describing the presenter’s behaviour as “an unacceptable breach of our standards”.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Harri, who worked for Boris Johnson when the Prime Minister was London Mayor, hit back at GB News.
He said: “I joined, part-time but with an ongoing commitment, because I liked and trusted those in charge and supported the broad vision.
“But the channel is rapidly becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be.
“Rather than defending free speech and confronting cancel culture, it has set out to replicate it on the far right.”
Mr Harri said he has been “taken off air for the summer” following his actions.
The England football team took the knee before each of its Euro 2020 matches, in support of racial justice.
However, some interpret the gesture as support for the controversial Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
After Mr Harri took the knee, some enraged GB News viewers announced they would boycott the channel.
In response to the row, the station 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.”
GB News launched last month, aiming to combat the allegedly metro-centric and liberal bias of UK broadcast media.
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On Saturday it announced former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage will present a show, from Monday-Thursday.
Titled ‘Farage’, it will air between 7pm and 8pm with the Brexiteer vowing “I will not be taking the knee on this show!”.
In his piece for the Sunday Times, Mr Harri said GB News has been struggling to keep viewers.
He wrote: “Briefings to some media suggest all was well with the channel until I offended the lynch mob.
Nigel Farage slams 'propaganda' channels as he joins GB News
“Viewing figures were fine until I took the knee. Really? The figures actually dropped pretty swiftly after launch and kept slipping.
“There is undoubtedly a gap in the market for a channel that reflects the interests and outlook of parts of Britain too often overlooked or patronised by the metropolitan mainstream.
“But my enforced time on the bench suggests GB News is not the outfit to plug that gap.”
England were defeated in the Euro 2020 final against Italy last Sunday, losing 3-2 on penalties.
After the game, some of England’s black players received racial abuse on Twitter.
This was fiercely condemned by the Football Association and Prime Minister, with police making a number of arrests.
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