Piers Morgan Rages At “Pathetically Spineless” BBC Decision To Suspend Gary Lineker
Piers Morgan has joined a chorus of criticism against the BBC’s decision to suspend Gary Lineker after he compared British government rhetoric to Nazi Germany.
Morgan said the BBC was “pathetically spineless” for demanding that Lineker step back from his Match Of The Day hosting duties for breaking impartiality rules on Twitter.
More from Deadline
BBC Apologizes After Premier League Output Melts Down Amid Presenter Mutiny Over Gary Lineker
A List Of The BBC Stars Staging A Dramatic Boycott Over Gary Lineker's Suspension
BBC On Defensive After Nightmare Friday, With Battles On Four Separate Fronts
Voicing support for his friend, Morgan said:
WTF? How pathetically spineless.. I now demand the BBC suspend every presenter who has made public comment about news or current affairs – starting with Sir David Attenborough and Lord Sugar. https://t.co/7DRtFEOAVa
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 10, 2023
Others also voiced solidarity. Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, the former England strikers and close colleagues of Lineker, said they were boycotting Match of the Day.
I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) March 10, 2023
Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) March 10, 2023
Replying to Wright, Jeremy Clarkson said: “Good on you mate.”
Left-wing politicians savaged the BBC, including Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister.
As a strong supporter of public service broadcasting, I want to be able to defend the BBC. But the decision to take @GaryLineker off air is indefensible. It is undermining free speech in the face of political pressure – & it does always seem to be rightwing pressure it caves to
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 10, 2023
Lineker was suspended for railing at “beyond awful” government plans to stop small boats carrying asylum seekers from arriving on British shores.
In a tweet on Tuesday, he added: “We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.”
The BBC said Lineker was being benched while it figured out how the presenter can voice his views on social media in a way that is compatible with the corporation’s duty to impartiality.
The BBC said: “The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines.
“The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.
“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”
Lineker is yet to comment.
Best of Deadline
2023 Awards Season Calendar - Dates For The Oscars, Festivals, Emmys & More
Disney-Fox Deal: How It Ranks Among Biggest All-Time Media Mergers
Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.