BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty has been blasted by viewers for grilling the John Lewis boss over their Christmas advert budget after the retailer was forced to make job cuts.
Earlier this month, the department store announced they would be making a further 1,500 job cuts because of the coronavirus pandemic.
During Friday’s show, Naga and her co-host Charlie Stayt interviewed John Lewis Executive Pippa Wicks about the new festive commercial.
However, things took an unexpected turn when Naga started quizzing Pippa about the job cuts.
‘Pippa Wicks, it’s really interesting isn’t it?’ Naga began. ‘You’re facing the public, you’re trying to encourage business but at the same time, just looking at the John Lewis Partnership, you’ve been hit as many businesses have been as well.
‘Your staff won’t receive a bonus for the first time since 1953, there’s been a loss in profits, a drop in profits and you’re cutting eight stores and jobs are at risk as well, they are going to be job losses around 5,000 I think, in total.
‘So how do you relay this kind of spending on advertising, with the way many of your staff will be feeling in terms of insecurity and knowing that these straitened times for them as well?’
Pippa explained to the hosts that making job cuts in order to turn the business around is ‘regrettable’.
She replied: ‘These are straitened times for everybody who’ve worked amazingly hard all year to make sure our customers have got what they need the way of products and service.
‘It is regrettable whenever you are trying to turn around fortunes with business. There are costs to be cut, and it is very regrettable indeed, but we are trying to look after them in a humane way and really support them through the changes we’ve got to make in the business.’
‘And we’ve got to make these changes in order to make the business strong for the future, if we don’t then we’ll continue to have a downward stretch in profits and that’s not what anyone wants,’ she added.
Naga pushed Pippa further as she continued to question her on whether the budget for the 2020 Christmas ad had been cut.
The John Lewis boss explained that their brand is their most ‘precious asset’ so in order to keep them going, they needed to invest in them.
She continued: ‘Our brand is one of our most precious assets – our two brands John Lewis and Waitrose – they’re one of our most precious assets and we need to invest in them.
‘Advertising is one of those ways we invest in those brands and make sure they are still front of mind for the British consumer.’
The interview certainly caused a stir with viewers, and many took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
‘Usual ridiculous questioning by #naga @BBCBreakfast re John Lewis advertising,’ one viewer tweeted.
While another added: ‘So hypocritical Munchetty attacking John Lewis ‘guest’ about staff shortages.’
One commented: ‘John Lewis executive speaking on BBC Breakfast trying to convey a positive message. Naga making sure she steers the conversation back to job losses & falling profits.’
While others praised Naga for her interview technique, as one tweeted: ‘Good questions posed by Naga to the Executive Director of John Lewis. Equally good answers!’
The John Lewis Christmas advert launched today and centres around – a snowman, hip-hop pigeons and an unforgettable haircut.
Playing over Celeste’s original song penned especially for the campaign, the John Lewis advert begins with a young boy whose ball is stuck up a tree until a girl, equipped with a heart-shaped umbrella, lends a helping hand before Britain is transformed into an animated dreamland.
Cackling hairdressers with beaming smiles, a nurse on her way to save lives, pigeons giving a hedgehog a hip hop makeover, and the everyday heroes who have been getting the nation through the most testing of times are honoured in the two-minute trailer, illustrating that no matter how big or small every act of kindness goes a long way.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
Credit: Original article published here.