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18th Jun 2021

Andrew Neil lashes out at ‘woke’ brands boycotting channel

Charlie Herbert

He accused advertisers of “taking the knee” to Stop Funding Hate.

GB News chairman Andrew Neil has hit out at brands that have decided to pull their advertising from the channel, saying that they have “bowed to pressure.”

The likes of Ikea, Specsavers, Kopparberg and Nivea have all suspended their advertising on the channel, saying that they were unaware that their adverts would be aired on the channel.

The Metro reports that the boycott was started by the social media campaign Stop Funding Hate, which aims to persuade advertisers “to pull their support from publications that spread hate and division.”

As brands have paused their advertising on GB News, this has provoked an angry backlash from supporters of the channel who are now threatening to boycott the brands in question.

On Thursday night, GB News founder and chairman, Andrew Neil, addressed the controversy. he accused the brands and companies in question of “taking the knee” to Stop Funding Hate.

In an angry rant, Neil said: “They bowed to pressure from a fringe group called Stop Funding Hate, a misnomer if ever there was one. It’s quite remarkable that serious, important executives in well-established companies can be so easily cowed. They’ve all taken the knee to stop funding hate.”

The host listed off stories that the channel had covered in its (very chaotic) opening week, saying that there was “not an iota of hate in sight.”

Neil went on to describe Stop Funding Hate as “dominated by far-left agitators and cranks that push for advertiser boycotts of any media organisation with which it disagrees,” accusing the campaign of “rounding up the lynch mob four months before we started broadcasting.”

He continued: “Woke nonsense has reached the boardroom and corporate capitalism is becoming the useful idiot of bigots bent on censorship.

“GB News viewers are incensed with advertisers who’ve taken against us. Many have written to tell them so. And their numbers are growing. For three nights in a row this show has been the number one rated show on any news channel available in the UK.

“Add our audience, friends, allies and sympathisers together and we can muster millions of supporters on social media. Not a good idea to be on the wrong end of them.

“So far not a single example of hate has been given in evidence to justify the boycott of this channel’, before offering an invitation to bosses from the companies pausing their advertising to come on his programme to argue otherwise.”

In response to Neil’s attack, Stop Funding Hate tweeted that the channel was “lashing out” because they know “that this campaign is having an impact.”

Of course what is being forgotten at the moment is that most of the brands in question have said that they are simply waiting to make an assessment on the channel. Many have not said that they would never advertise on the channel again, but that they are in fact just going to assess the output of the channel and whether it is in-keeping with their values.

And the true irony of the whole situation is this: the founder and supporters of a channel that openly champions the fact it is anti-cancel culture and pro-free speech are now getting upset at companies and brands exercising their free speech. This is what they want, the free market in action!

It seems freedom of speech and expression is only a good thing when it suits Mr Neil.