Andrew Neil has said that GB News was unable to light ‘people of colour’ as the news channel struggled with technical issues.
The 72-year-old has quit GB News as chairman and presenter, having hosted just eight episodes of his flagship evening show since the station’s launch in June.
In a scathing interview with the Daily Mail, the journalist called his time at the station ‘the worst eight months of his career’ and said he came ‘close to a breakdown’.
Among his biggest gripes with GB News were the technical issues that plagued the channel in its opening weeks, from misspelled captions to system outages to lighting so poor viewers could barely see the presenters.
Neil has said they had particular issues lighting non-white presenters and guests.
The journalist said: ‘We were also broadcasting from the most diverse, multi-ethnic city in the world and we couldn’t light people of colour. In the early days you could barely see them for our backdrop. They faded into the background because we didn’t light them properly.
‘I raised the issue that the reputational damage we were risking was monumental. I said it was a disaster. There were endless things and, by the second week, things weren’t getting any better. Some things were getting worse. It was terrible.’
There are currently three Black presenters on the GB News roster – Inaya Folarin Iman, who presents The Great British Breakfast, Mercy Muroki, who presents To The Point with Patrick Christys, and Nana Akua, who hosts her own weekend afternoon show as well as being part of the breakfast team.
Neil said that GB News made ‘student TV look well-financed’, as presenters were expected to do their own make-up and manage their own autocues, and claimed that they only hired a floor manager because he insisted.
He said that the studio had four areas – a digital wall, the breakfst table area, a sofa ‘which looked like a Habitat sofa we’d picked up off a skip in Notting Hill’, and the area where he would film his own show, which he said ‘was so black I had to take my jacket off and wear a white shirt’.
The former BBC presenter said: ‘It actually looked like I was Kim Jong Un in a bunker about to launch a nuclear attack on San Francisco. When it came to the launch, the digital wall wasn’t ready and they discovered they couldn’t light or get the sound and audio right for the kitchen table… so we were then reduced to the Habitat sofa found on a skip and the North Korean nuclear bunker.’
GB News was ruthlessly mocked in the weeks following its launch due to shoddy sound and lighting and presenters falling for viewer-submitted comments from the likes of ‘Mike Hunt’ and ‘Mike Oxlong’.
They addressed the issues on air and on social media. with former BBC News presenter Simon McCoy previously pleading with viewers to ‘judge us in six months’.
While Neil has left the channel, a host of new presenters have joined, including former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Mark Dolan.
However, GB News faces more issues as News UK is launching its own news channel with Piers Morgan at the helm.
Credit: Original article published here.