GB News pulls Welsh presenter Guto Harri off air for ‘taking the knee’, sources say
GB News has pulled the Welsh presenter Guto Harri off air for taking the knee, sources have said.
The right-wing channel has faced a fierce backlash from viewers after the journalist took the knee live on his show to demonstrate solidarity with the England team following racist abuse aimed at some players.
Sources have told the Guardian that he has been “cancelled” by viewers calling it “woke”, amid a plunge in ratings, management upheaval, and rumours that other members of staff are considering leaving.
A friend of of Harri told the Guardian: “GB News is becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be – not defending free speech and combatting cancel culture but replicating it on the far right. Nasty.
“It’s ridiculous to say he’s breached editorial standards and almost certainly defamatory. In reality it wasn’t a breach of editorial code but ‘sacked for offending the lynch mob’.”
This follows GB News blasting Harri, who also presents Y Byd yn ei Le on S4C, for what it called “an unacceptable breach of our standards” for his decision to take the knee.
In a statement posted on Twitter, GB News said: “GB News stands four square against racism in all its forms. We do not have a company line on taking the knee. Some of our guests have been in favour, some against. All are anti-racist. We have editorial standards that all GB News journalists uphold.
“On Tuesday a contributing presenter took the knee live on air and this was an unacceptable breach of our standards.”
It also deleted a tweet which showcased the segment.
The channel has been mocked for its decision to rebuke Harri because it was set up on the basis that free and open debate is no longer possible in the mainstream media due to an all-pervasive “cancel culture”.
A spokesperson for GB News was unable to immediately confirm whether Harri would be leaving the channel, or whether other key staff are still with the station.
Discussing his decision to take a knee on the show, Guto Harri said: “All politics is about gestures, not just about running public services. It’s about signalling what’s right and wrong about a country,” he said.
“I’ve never understood why people find it offensive. I tended to be one of those people who thought ‘do we really need to do this at every football match’.
“But having seen just how close to the surface how hideously ugly racism among some English fans is, I totally get it why this squad throughout wanted to make a stand, day in, day out, every time they took to the pitch.”