Following a dispute over Gary Lineker‘s impartiality that was started by his criticism of the British government’s new asylum policy, the BBC said Friday that Lineker would “stand aside” from presenting until an agreement was made on his usage of social media.
The Match of the Day host, a former England footballer, contrasted the language used to introduce the new policy to that of Nazi-era Germany.
According to a BBC representative, the organization has recently had numerous conversations with Gary and his staff. We’ve stated that we believe his most recent social media conduct violates our policies.
The BBC has decided that he will step down as Match Of The Day’s host until we have a mutually acceptable and well-defined policy on his usage of social media.
Lineker’s tweet in reaction to a video in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman outlined efforts to halt migrants from navigating the English Channel in small boats set off the argument.
There isn’t a significant influx, Lineker, 62, wrote. We accept significantly fewer refugees than most other major European nations.
This approach, which is described in terminology eerily reminiscent of that used by Germany in the 1930s to target the most defenseless individuals, is just enormously cruel.
In an effort to dissuade thousands of migrants from traveling across the Channel on small boats, the Tory administration plans to criminalize all applications for asylum made by illegal immigrants and move them somewhere else, like Rwanda.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated earlier this week in the House of Commons that stopping the boats is “the people’s priority” and vowed to “destroy the criminal organizations” making money off of the travels.
Yet, according to the UN and European and UN rules on asylum, the measure would turn Britain into a worldwide pariah.
In a tweet posted on Thursday, Lineker expressed his excitement about hosting Match Of The Day on Saturday.
In an earlier interview, he assured reporters outside his London residence that he would continue to criticize the BBC’s immigration policy and that he had no reason to fear being fired.
According to a BBC statement from Friday, Lineker is “second to none” when it comes to sports commentary.
“We have never said Gary should be an opinion-free zone, or that he can’t have a perspective on topics that concern to him, but we have said he should steer well away from taking sides on party political matters or political scandals,” the statement continued.
Ian Wright, a former England and Arsenal forward, announced shortly after that he would skip Saturday’s show in support of Lineker.
Everyone is aware of how much Match of the Day matters to him, but he tweeted, “I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. “Solidarity.”
When Tim Davie became BBC director general at the end of 2020, he issued a social media usage warning to the workforce. Since then, social media usage policies have been revised.
The staff was instructed to adhere to editorial standards and oversight in the same manner as when producing BBC programming.
Since Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC and not a permanent employee, he is exempt from the same impartiality requirements because he is not in charge of providing news or political commentary.