Gary Lineker has appeared to shrug off the new BBC director-general’s warning to employees to cut out political tweeting.
The vocal Match of the Day presenter suggested he was not worried by Tim Davie’s anti-bias drive which called upon staff to rein in their social media.
He replied ‘nah’ in response to suggestions he should be ‘terrified’ of the clampdown.
Mr Davie is planning a radical shake-up of the national broadcaster to dispel bruising accusations of partiality that dogged his predecessor and have cast doubt on the BBC’s future.
In a debut speech yesterday he said: ‘If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.’
Gary Lineker (pictured on a video stressing the benefits of refugees) has appeared to shrug off the new BBC director-general’s warning to employees to cut out political tweeting in an anti-bias dive
Mr Davie is planning a radical shake-up of the national broadcaster to dispel bruising accusations of partiality that dogged his predecessor and have thrown the BBC’s future into question
Mr Davie’s impartiality drive had been widely reported before he took charge and seems to have landed with some BBC journalists, such as media editor Amol Rajan, who have scaled back their tweeting.
Yet Lineker, who was on a £1.75million salary but has offered to take a pay cut, has ploughed ahead with tweeting politicised content which has recently centered on his support for refugees.
Migrant numbers has long been a thorny issue and ministers have been grappling with record numbers of Channel crossings this summer.
Lineker yesterday posted a video stressing the benefits of refugees to British society, and even revealed he would be prepared to have one with live with him.
He retweeted a message which read: ‘It’s easier not to talk about this subject due to far-right Twitter’s constant attacks. But we must. Truth must outweigh perception & prejudice.’
He replied ‘nah’ in response to suggestions he should be ‘terrified’ of the clampdown
Gary Lineker thanks refugees for ‘bringing fish and chips to Britain’ in bizarre video
Gary Lineker has narrated a new video to thank immigrants for bringing fish and chips to Britain as he welcomed a refugee to live in his £4million Surrey mansion.
The BBC Match of the Day presenter appeared in the video for the International Rescue Committee humanitarian aid group with the voice of comedian Jo Brand.
Also featuring as a voiceover in the clip which told the story of the famous British dish through animation was singer Yasmin Kadi, who fled Sierra Leone as a refugee.
The clip referred to the origins of fried fish as being brought to Britain by Jewish refugees who fled persecution in Spain and Portugal during the 16th century.
It also revealed that Huguenot French protestants fleeing religious persecution in the 17th century are believed to have brought chips to East London in the 17th century.
Posting the video on Twitter, he wrote: ‘Providing a new start to those who’ve fled their homes represents the best of Britain’s values.
‘As we know, refugees have always helped to keep our communities safe and make our society stronger. They even brought us fish and chips.’
The post came before Mr Davie’s hard-hitting speech, but Lineker later appeared to brush aside the new director-general’s warning.
Referencing a Telegraph column arguing Lineker should be ‘terrified of Tim Davie’s speech’, one journalist at the paper tweeted the ex-England star and said it ‘must be a double pants moment’ for him – to which Lineker replied ‘nah.’
The article, written by the Telegraph’s TV editor Chris Bennion, read: ‘How Lineker will react to being gagged remains to be seen – he has gainful employment elsewhere. And just how tough will Davie be on any stars who step out of line?
‘Reading between the lines, he’s suggesting he’d be willing to fire Lineker – and others who play up.’
Lineker is one of the BBC’s most recognisable faces and regularly tweets his opinions to his seven million followers.
They have involved outbursts attacking Brexit and criticising Donald Trump, who this week he said was ‘a few tins short of 57 varieties.’
In 2018, he became embroiled in a spat with BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew who suggested he had breached impartiality rules for tweeting: ‘Extraordinary to watch us take our country back and rip it to shreds in the process’ as Theresa May threatened to be ousted by her own MPs.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told MailOnline: ‘I think licence fee payers will be shocked the Gary Linkeker is the highest remunerated person employed by the BBC.
‘If Gary Lineker wants to get in to politics as he seems to inspire to do so, then he’s perfectly entitled to do that.
‘But I can promise it doesn’t pay as well as working for the BBC. He’ll have to be prepared to take a huge pay cut!’
He also said Mr Davie’s online anti-bias drive does not go far enough to tackle the fundamental flaws blighting the Corporation.
The MP said: ‘I think that Tim Davie’s plan to prevent BBC employees expressing political opinions on social media is a step in the right direction, but that will never in itself remove the intrinsic and entrenched political bias in the organisation.’
Mr Davie’s remarks followed controversies over impartiality, including Newsnight host Emily Maitlis sparking a furore with a monologue on the Dominic Cummings lockdown row.
The BBC later said the episode ‘did not meet our standards of due impartiality’.
BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty was also rebuked last year after commenting on remarks made by US President Donald Trump.
The BBC is expecting to receive a report into the use of social media by its staff, including presenters, written by former executive Richard Sambrook.
Mr Davie warned there was ‘no room for complacency’ over the broadcaster’s future, but insisted that it was ‘still relevant in millions of people’s lives’.