Writer Nels Abbey has condemned Andrew Neil’s claim that he ‘abused’ him while speaking to the broadcaster about his exit as chair of GB News on Question Time, describing it as a ‘shocking assertion’.
On Thursday evening’s episode of Question Time on BBC One, Fiona Bruce was joined by a panel of guests including Nels, Andrew, armed forces minister James Heappey MP, shadow education secretary Kate Green MP and executive chairman of the National Care Association Nadra Ahmed for an hour of topical debate.
Andrew’s appearance came just days after it was confirmed that he was stepping down as chairman and lead presenter of GB News just a few months after its launch, remaining on the channel as a regular guest commentator.
About halfway through the programme, Nels remarked on Andrew’s exit from GB News, comparing it to the recent cabinet reshuffle as he presented a newspaper headline with Andrew’s photo plastered next to it which read: ‘Why Britain’s new TV news channel won’t be woke.’
Referring to the fact that some GB News programmes recorded zero viewers, Nels, who is co-founder of the Black Writers Guild, said: ‘GB News was set up as it says over here in black and white, a channel that was intended to not be “woke”. That it was going to be a channel that was going to fight the “culture wars”.
‘I posit it to you Andrew, that you actually knew exactly what you guys were setting up. When you used a term like woke as a pejorative, I put it to you that you exactly knew the dog you were blowing that whistle at.’
As Nels asked Andrew why he was at GB News to begin with, Andrew responded: ‘If you’re saying that what’s happened is what I wanted, why would I be here tonight and not still at the channel?’
The chairman of the Spectator Magazine Group added: ‘You don’t know me, and you’re assuming things of which you have no knowledge whatsoever.’
‘I’ll give you my perception of how I view things,’ Nels replied, to which Andrew responded: ‘Your prejudice.’
Nels remarked that in his opinion, when GB News launched it was a ‘shoddy platform’ and ‘embarrassing to watch’, which, despite the comparisons to Fox News, did not have the ‘production values’ of the American news channel.
‘GB News is by no means whatsoever Fox News. It’s actually a very inferior product to almost anything on the market. But what we actually had, what GB News did represent, is the exact same thing that Fox News represented, which was for the purpose of re-mainstreaming and maintaining almost a cocktail of bigotries within our nation under the term “woke”,’ the satirist said.
‘It’s good to see that Andrew’s left it, but it’s sad to see that Andrew actually has thrown his considerable pearl to this swine of an outfit. It really breaks my heart when we see one of our most prominent and popular and powerful journalists in this society really broken down and traduced by his own means. I’m disappointed to put it mildly.’
Andrew appeared taken aback by Nels’ comments, questioning: ‘I’m broken down and traduced?’
Nels stood by his words, saying that in his view, Andrew is ‘not who you were 24 months ago’.
‘For someone who’s never met me, you seem to know a hell of a lot about me,’ Andrew said.
Andrew disagreed with Nels’ belief that he knows how he is perceived by the audience, saying that he ‘left for the reasons’ he has already mentioned and has no regrets whatsoever.
He then stated: ‘Being abused by you is a privilege in its own way, and when you do your homework, maybe you will come back and apologise and we can have a sensible conversation.’
Nels repeated the word ‘abused’ incredulously as he reacted to Andrew’s claim.
However, at that point Fiona interjected, saying that there may be people at GB News who ‘object’ to how it was being described on Question Time, who were not present to ‘speak for themselves’.
In a tweet shared the following day, Nels chastised Andrew’s claim that he was ‘abused’ in their heated exchange.
‘Andrew Neil was not “beefed” and, contrary to his shocking assertion, he was certainly not “abused” by me on last night’s Question Time. He was held accountable,’ Nels wrote.
‘And he was held accountable in a manner that I learned from watching… Andrew Neil.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted representatives of Andrew Neil for comment.
Question Time returns next Thursday at 10.35pm on BBC One and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Credit: Original article published here.