Neil hit out at Stop Funding Hate (Picture: GB News)
Andrew Neil has accused advertisers of ‘taking the knee’ to Stop Funding Hate, after a number of big brands suspended their campaigns with GB News.
Ikea, Specsavers, Kopparberg, Nivea and Grolsch are among the brands that have suspended their advertising with new news channel GB News, saying they were unaware their campaigns would be airing on the channel.
The boycott was sparked by the social media campaign Stop Funding Hate, which aims to persuade advertisers ‘to pull their support from publications that spread hate and division’.
While many have applauded the brands who have paused their ad campaigns pending a review of GB News’s content, supporters of the channel have reacted in fury, pledging to boycott the companies.
On Thursday night’s edition of his segment Media Watch, GB News chairman Neil hit out at Stop Funding Hate and the companies who had ‘bowed to pressure’.
The 72-year-old listed stories that GB News have covered since launching last week, including the regeneration of Skegness and the pollution issue in Birmingham, and said that there was ‘not an iota of hate in sight’.
Calling out the companies that suspended their advertising with GB News, he said: ‘They bowed to pressure from a fringe group called Stop Funding Hate, a misnomer if ever there was one. It’s quite remarkable that serious, important executives in well-established companies can be so easily cowed. They’ve all taken the knee to stop funding hate.’
Neil claimed that Stop Funding Hate is ‘dominated by far-left agitators and cranks that push for advertiser boycotts of any media organisation with which it disagrees’, and accused the campaign of ‘rounding up the lynch mob four months before we started broadcasting’.
The journalist continued: ‘Woke nonsense has reached the boardroom and corporate capitalism is becoming the useful idiot of bigots bent on censorship.
‘GB News viewers are incensed with advertisers who’ve taken against us. Many have written to tell them so. And their numbers are growing. For three nights in a row this show has been the number one rated show on any news channel available in the UK.
‘Add our audience, friends, allies and sympathisers together and we can muster millions of supporters on social media. Not a good idea to be on the wrong end of them.’
Neil said: ‘So far not a single example of hate has been given in evidence to justify the boycott of this channel’, before offering an invitation to bosses from the companies pausing their advertising to come on his programme to argue otherwise.
A tweet from Stop Funding Hate following the segment read: ‘GB News are lashing out at @StopFundingHate because they know that this campaign is having an impact.
‘The companies we shop with care what their customers think, and when enough of us speak out, advertisers will respond.’
Advertising sales for GB News are being handled by Sky Media and the brands speaking out said they were unaware their campaigns would appear on GB News in advance.
Delivery for ad campaigns run through Sky Media is spread across its portfolio of about 130 channels; most TV advertising is bought and targeted to certain agreed audiences, rather than specific channels.
While some of the brands have said they will reassess whether they will advertise with GB News after reviewing its content, some have already reversed their decisions.
Moneysupermarket confirmed it would not be boycotting the channel, while a spokesperson for Vodafone said: ‘Our advertising appeared on GB News without our knowledge, and we would have preferred to wait to make a commercial assessment of the channel and decide what advertising was right, and in what volume. We’ll do that now.
‘We firmly believe in free speech, while also standing firmly against hateful and harmful content. We are not involved in any boycotting.’
Establishing itself as an ‘anti-woke’ news channel to rival BBC and Sky, GB News journalists have been keen to stress that it will not be a British version of Fox News, instead adopting the US channel’s programme-based and anchor-led format, rather than a rolling news format.
Since its launch on Sunday, the channel has hosted debates on England footballers taking the knee and ‘woke culture’, while Dan Wootton’s inaugural show, during which he claimed lockdowns should be ‘wiped from the public health playbook, received over 370 complaints.
The channel has also been plagued by technical issues, with many viewers complaining about the quality of sound.Credit: Original article published here.