Ill-fated broadcaster GB News has condemned one of its presenters’ decision to take the knee live on air, after recording zero viewers for multiple shows in the last week.
On Tuesday morning, Guto Harri took the knee during a discussion about the racism several England footballers had been subjected to since the squad’s loss against Italy over the weekend.
Guto explained before kneeling in the studio: “With the benefit of hindsight, I actually might have underestimated how close to the surface the racism still was. I actually now get it.
“And so much so, I think, we should all take the knee. In fact, why not take the knee now? For [the England squad] to do that as footballers on the field makes sense – they’re saying, ‘it’s just not right’ and racism has no place in football and no place in modern Britain.”
Two days later, the official GB News Twitter account condemned Guto’s actions, suggesting he had contradicted the “standards” of the station, which launched last month with a mission statement about the importance of free speech.
“GB News stands four square against racism in all its forms,” they said on Thursday evening. “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.”
They continued, in a somewhat contradictory post: “On Tuesday a contributing presenter took the knee live on air and this was an unacceptable breach of our standards.”
An hour later, a third tweet was added, which read: “We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”
Footage of Guto Harri taking the knee also appears to have been removed from GB News’ Twitter and YouTube accounts.
The Guardian reported later on Thursday night that these GB News tweets had been shared after several of the station’s shows didn’t record any viewers during the week, according to official Barb data.
This included Liam Halligan and Gloria De Piero’s mid-afternoon show on Wednesday, and former BBC journalist Simon McCoy’s show later that day, both of which apparently registered zero figures.
In The Guardian’s report, they linked these low ratings with a supposed “viewer boycott” that arose in the wake of Guto Harri taking the knee.
In his absence, former Sky News star Colin Brazier has been filling in as host of his nightly GB News current affairs show.