‘Amazingly touched by public response’: Huw Edwards speaks out on Welsh flag controversy
Huw Edwards has spoken out on the controversy where he was ‘forced’ to take down a tweet of a Welsh flag by BBC bosses.
The broadcaster said he was “amazingly touched” by the wave of public support, which included people declaring “I’m Huw Edwards” and changing their social media profile pictures to the one he’d deleted.
He’d tweeted following UK Government Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick being interviewed by BBC presenters, who ended the segment by sniggering at the size of the Union Jack in the background of his office.
The episode set off a firestorm, following which Edwards posted his original tweet, which said: “Flags are now mandatory – very pleased with my new backdrop for @BBCNews at Ten.”
After that was taken down, he said: “Gutted. My pro-flag tweet has been cut down in its prime. By order. But it will be back tomorrow — by popular demand. Meanwhile enjoy this magnificent flag — one of my favourites. #SixNationsRugby #FRAvWAL”.
This promoted a huge reaction from the Welsh public on social media, which included a viral thread from social media expert Owen Williams, who tweeted a series of photos of Edwards with captions.
I'm Huw Edwards. Shaken, not stirred. pic.twitter.com/jr7mtwvjds
— Owen Williams 🏴 (@OwsWills) March 20, 2021
These captions include, but are not limited to, I’m Huw Edwards at the seaside, I’m Huw Edwards on a Ducati 959 Panigale, I’m Huw Edwards, and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next, I’m Huw Edwards – Shaken, not stirred, and I’m Huw Edwards – Welcome to the Pleasuredome.
When asked about the response by the Welsh public, he told WalesOnline: “I was quite humbled really to be honest.
“It wasn’t the case that this was some kind of deliberate strategy to make a point. I’m probably going to offend some BBC colleagues by saying this, but I wasn’t actually thinking about that Breakfast news controversy – it was just a rugby weekend.
“After I posted it and it got something like 26,000 likes, it’s probably my most successful tweet ever and it was just a bit of fun really. I thought my Welsh friends would love it if I said that this is my backdrop to the ten o’clock news.
“There are flags everywhere. Mark Drakeford has his flag up, Boris has got his two flags up. It was hardly a provocative statement.
“I think the issue for the BBC was because they had made a fuss about the Breakfast thing, it would seem to be, how can I put it, unhelpful.
“That was the issue, and I haven’t given that any thought and maybe that’s my fault. I just saw it as a bit of Welsh flag fun on a rugby weekend.
“It had been accepted in good spirit and has had a great response. People have taken it as it was meant to be – a light-hearted thing.
“The BBC were a bit sensitive about it and we know that. I am not in the business of upsetting my colleagues at the BBC either but when they said it may be actually helpful to defuse this thing if I took the tweet down I said ‘well I will do it but you need to realise that if I take the tweet down this is basic journalism, that it will become a bigger story’.
“Sadly, I wasn’t able to convince my colleagues that that was the case.
“So that’s how it happened. It wasn’t deliberate. It wasn’t malicious. Of course, when I saw people supporting it, I was amazingly touched actually. The Welsh audience has been incredibly supportive.”