GB News chief Andrew Neil today hit back at IKEA and its ‘criminal’ former French boss after the Swedish furniture giant pulled all advertising from the new TV channel that promises to be anti-woke and pro-British.
Mr Neil also retweeted messages calling the decision ‘pathetic virtue signalling’ and accusing ‘corporations of making fools of themselves’ after Stop Funding Hate challenged advertisers on social media to deprive news outlets it disagrees with of revenue.
Mr Neil, whose new TV news channel launched on Sunday and is already beating BBC News and Sky News in primetime slots, tweeted an attack on IKEA and its former CEO Jean-Louis Baillot, who was in the dock yesterday.
He said: ‘IKEA has decided to boycott GB News because of our alleged values. Here are IKEA’s values — a French CEO who is a criminal with a two year suspended jail sentence for spying on staff’.
Last night Swedish furniture giant Ikea said it had ‘not knowingly’ advertised on GB News. It added: ‘We are in the process of investigating how this may have occurred to ensure it won’t happen again in future, and have suspended paid display advertising in the meantime.’
Nivea, Kopparberg and Grolsch, the Open University and Octopus Energy have also pulled their adverts prompting a backlash and calls for boycott with many accusing the companies of succumbing to ‘woke zealots’.
GB News chief Andrew Neil today hit back at IKEA and its ‘criminal’ former French boss Jean-Louis Baillot (right) as the firm pulled its adverts from the new TV channel
Mr Neil had this message for IKea last night and also retweeted messages calling the decision ‘pathetic Woke virtue signalling’ and accusing ‘corporations making fools of themselves’
BBC director-generals are savaged by MPs over Diana interview scandal: Lord Hall apologises to William and Harry for ‘hurt caused’
Lord Hall squirmed as he was grilled about Martin Bashir by MPs today and was accused of being evasive
Director-generals who spent years at the top of the BBC have been savaged by MPs, who accused them of being evasive and implausible about how shamed journalist Martin Bashir was allowed to operate in the organisation.
Ex bosses Lord Tony Hall and Lord John Birt appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today and were skewered over the reporter’s actions and subsequent rehire.
Lord Tony Hall, who was managing director of news and current affairs at the time of the interview, said sorry to Prince William and Prince Harry for the ‘hurt’ caused to them by Bashir and his own defence of the rogue reporter who conned their mother into the 1995 Panorama interview.
Meanwhile Lord Birt, director general of the BBC at the time of the interview, said his ‘heart went out’ to the sons of Diana, Princess of Wales, as he blamed senior figures at the broadcaster for being fed a ‘completely flawed understanding’ of how the reporter got the Royal chat.
He said Bashir was a ‘serial liar on an industrial scale’ but despite this was still rehired. They are investigating if he was taken on again to keep him quiet over the Diana interview.
Current BBC chief Tim Davie was also quizzed today, and said the Duke of Cambridge’s criticism in the wake of the Dyson report was ‘upsetting’ and a ‘sad day’ for the broadcaster.
The director-general, who took up the role in September 2020, said he has ‘engaged with the royal household directly’ since the publication of the inquiry’s findings in May.
He said he felt ‘deep sympathy’ for Diana’s sons, William and Harry, but added the BBC had offered an ‘unconditional apology’ shortly after former judge Lord Dyson concluded that the broadcaster had covered up ‘deceitful behaviour’ used by Martin Bashir to secure his 1995 interview with their mother.
Earlier as Lord Hall declined to answer a number of questions saying he didn’t know or wasn’t the best person to answer, Labour MP Clive Efford said: ‘It’s remarkable how much people in the BBC don’t know about this’ and later said there was ‘massive amnesia at the BBC’.
Ikea France was yesterday fined £1million and its former CEO Baillot was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence after the company spied on its employees for three years.
The Swedish furniture giant was found guilty of setting up an elaborate system to illegally snoop on the private lives of hundreds of current staff and potential new-hires between 2009 and 2012.
The ruling was less severe than recommended by prosecutors, who accused the furniture company of illicitly carrying out ‘mass surveillance’.
Baillot, Ikea France’s boss between 1996 and 2002, was also fined £43,000 after he was found guilty of ‘receiving personal data by fraudulent means.’ He was cleared of several other charges, including ‘violating professional secrecy.’
Prosecutors claim the illegal practices date back to the early 2000s. Baillot’s lawyer, Francois Saint-Pierre, said the former Ikea boss was ‘shocked’ by the sentence and is now considering an appeal.
A union representative, Adel Amara, who was among a total of 120 plaintiffs, said he was ‘pleased’ with the outcome of the trial, but called the punishments ‘a little too lenient.’
Swedish cider brand Kopparberg was the first to bow to pressure, saying they were broadcast ‘without knowledge or consent’.
The alcohol-brand was tagged in a list of of companies that advertise on the channel on social media.
Others to pull their adverts include IKEA, Nivea, Grolsch, the Open University and Octopus Energy, prompting a backlash and calls for boycott with many accusing the companies of succumbing to ‘woke zealots’ and ‘cancel culture’.
Advertising sales for GB News are handled by Sky Media and a number of the companies said they were unaware their campaigns would appear on the new channel.
Sky Media spreads ad campaigns across its 130 channels which is normally targeted to certain audience demographics rather than specific channels.
In a message on Twitter last night Kopparberg, which is based in Bergslagen, Sweden, wrote: ‘Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We want to make it clear to everyone that our ad ran on this channel without our knowledge or consent.
‘Kopparberg is a drink for everyone and we have immediately suspended our ads from this channel pending further review of its content.’
Fellow drinks company Grolsch told ‘progressive digital campaigning platform’ Ripples: ‘This advert for Grolsch ran on the GB News channel completely without our knowledge or consent, and we’re in the process of investigating with our media partners why this happened.
‘Grolsch is a brand that prides itself on core values of inclusion and openness to all people, and we want to be clear that we do not associate ourselves with any platforms or outlets that go against these values.
‘We will do everything we possibly can to ensure that Grolsch does not appear on this channel again.’
Other companies who have been named online as advertisers but who are yet to respond include Amazon, Google, Facebook, Deliveroo, Kellogg’s, Starbucks and Vodafone.
IKEA said in its statement: ‘IKEA has not knowingly advertised on GB News, and we have safeguards in place to prevent our advertising from appearing on platforms that are not in line with our humanistic values and vision to side with the many people.
‘We are in the process of investigating how this may have occurred to ensure it won’t happen again in future, and have suspended paid display advertising in the meantime.’
Kopparberg sparked a backlash after suspending its advertisements from the newly-launched GB News channel
The alcohol brand said their advert had been broadcast on GB News ‘without knowledge or consent’ and they had now ‘immediately suspended’ their ads
Others to pull their adverts include IKEA, Nivea, Grolsch (pictured), the Open University and Octopus Energy
The Open University said: ‘We’ve not planned or purchased advertising with GB News and are investigating why this has happened’
Nivea said: ‘Media buying algorithms mean our adverts are automatically allocated across a wide selection of channels often without our knowledge, which is what has taken place in this instance’
The other companies said they were not aware their campaigns were being broadcast on the new channel and are reviewing their policies and pausing their adverts.
The move has triggered outrage among many online, with one branding Kopparberg’s decision ‘immature’.
Comedian and writer Geoff Norcott wrote: ‘Ok, well Kopparberg UK is no longer a drink for me. That’s how knee-jerk b******t works right?
While another commented: ‘Thank you for brining this to my attention so I won’t buy any of your products again. You obviously mean it’s a drink for ‘everyone’ who prescribes to your way of thinking.’
Another person added: ‘What an outrageous response! I have one bottle of Kopparberg left in my fridge and it will be my last. These vile companies that don’t believe in free speech or freedom of thought do not deserve our custom.’
Meanwhile another person said: ‘I’ve got four bottles of Kopparberg in my fridge. Now getting poured down the sunk! Pandering to woke zealots will do your company harm, I for one won’t be buying or drinking your product again. Great job.’
The move comes as a recently-launched social media campaign calls for more companies, including the AA, Amazon and Boots, to remove their advertisements from the news channel.
On Sunday, journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil pledged his 24-hour news channel would tackle cancel culture and would not be ‘yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset’ as he launched his new channel.
The move triggered outrage among some social media users, with one calling it an ‘immature decision’
GB News, which is aiming to reach those who feel ‘unheard’ by the media, launched at 8pm on Sunday, with a special programme titled Welcome To GB News.
It is the first new British news network in 24 years – since BBC News 24 launched in 1997. Although foreign channels have launched in the UK in that time, such as Al Jazeera English, this is the first new network specifically for UK audiences.
It has brought in big names ahead of its launch, including signing Simon McCoy, Sky News anchor Colin Brazier and new MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton.
At 8pm, as the channel launched, Mr Neil gave a five minute introduction to viewers, saying the network would concentrate on ‘the stories that matter to you and that others are neglecting’.
He added: ‘We are committed to covering the people’s agenda, not the media’s agenda.
‘GB News will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media.
‘We are proud to be British, the clue is in the name, and while we will never hold back from covering our country’s many flaws and problems… we won’t forget what the B stands for in our title.
Left to right: Kirsty Gallacher, Andrew Doyle, Neil Oliver, Darren McCaffrey, Alex Phillips, Rebecca Hutson, Simon McCoy, Nana Akua, Liam Halligan, Gloria Del Piero, Dan Wootton, Andrew Neil, Michelle Dewberry, Mercy Muroki, Tom Harwood, Colin Brazier, Inaya Folarin Iman, Alastair Stewart
The news channel has also signed up businesswoman and former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry (pictured)
Andrew Neil (with colleague Neil Oliver during the opening moments of GB News) said the network would concentrate on ‘the stories that matter to you and that others are neglecting’
‘We will puncture the pomposity of our elites… and expose their growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is.’
GB News will feature more than 6,500 hours of content a year, made exclusively for the channel, which has secured broadcasting licences from Ofcom.
It has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider. They plan for the channel to reach 96 per cent of British television households via Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.
Other names to feature on air include former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, Darren McCaffrey and Rosie Wright, who will host morning show The Great British Breakfast, while also working on other programmes.
It will be available to watch in HD on Sky channel 515 and Virgin Media’s channel 626, as well as also showing on Freeview and YouView channel 236, Freesat channel 216 and online.
The news channel, launched as a rival to the news and current affairs offerings on the likes of BBC and Sky, has also signed up businesswoman and former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.
GB News has also recruited a team of regional reporters to help serve its mission of involving ‘non-metropolitan voices in the national conversation’.
Director of news and programmes John McAndrew said: ‘It’s a huge task to launch even one new programme, never mind a whole channel to run 18 hours a day.
‘The team has been working flat out and of course there’s a sense of nervous excitement, but mostly excitement. We can’t wait to get started now.’
‘Brilliant, refreshing and much needed’: Viewers praise opening moments as GB News takes to the air
GB News viewers have taken to social media to praise the launch of the ‘straight-talking’ TV channel as it becomes the first new broadcaster to hit the UK’s airwaves in 24 years.
The right-leaning channel, which aims to cater to a broad audience including those under-represented in the 2016 Brexit debate, was a hit with viewers as it began tonight with an introduction to the GB News team by presenter Andrew Neil.
Neil began the show by calling ‘cancel culture’ a ‘threat to democracy’, telling viewers: ‘GB news will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that dominates much of the media’.
Viewers took to social media to praise the ‘refreshing’ and ‘much needed’ addition to British television, which is the first new channel to launch since BBC News 24 in 1997.
Siân Davidson wrote: ‘Great to have a news channel where different views are shared rather than one viewpoint and Andrew Neil launching it #GBNews.’
Jonathan wrote: ‘ @GBNEWS Well done Andrew Neil – a brilliant, refreshing and much needed introduction to our new news station!’
Aaron Healey wrote: ‘#GBNews lovely to see all the triggered woke brigade aghast at having a channel not bowing to their woke b********.’
Jim Crozier wrote: ‘Just tuned into @GBNEWS and loving how Andrew Neil is already giving it both barrels! I don’t think I’ve ever been excited to watch the news.’
As the channel cut to its first advertisement break some Twitter users questioned whether the advertisers will face retaliation.
Martin Daubney wrote: ‘First ever @GBNEWS advertiser that the morons will want to cancel is… Kelloggs!’
Viewers rushed to social media to praise the ‘refreshing’ and ‘much needed’ addition to British television, which is the first to launch since BBC News 24 in 1997
Another viewer added: ”… if it matters to you… it matters to us.. Hector has left the building..’ 5 minutes in, what an introduction by Andrew Neil!!! … … love it already, this is my news channel now !!!’
Neil’s show will contain a segment called ‘Woke Watch’, with a live segment featuring a Dan Wootton interview with Lord Alan Sugar later this evening.
Neil told London’s Evening Standard newspaper: ‘We are for people who think the existing channels don’t quite represent how they see things.’
John McAndrew, GB News’ director of news and programming, said: ‘Our presenters will have the freedom to say what they think, to have some fun and to be brave about the issues that really matter to the people of Britain.’
The station, which has a staff of 140 journalists based at newly acquired offices in west London, has attracted a string of high-profile UK broadcasters.
The channel, which is billed as ‘Britain’s news channel’ – with a logo featuring the red white and blue of the Union Jack – has been forced to fend off unfavourable comparisons to the firebrand and divisive populism of US network Fox News.
McAndrew told trade publication Press Gazette this week the channel will not be a ‘hate-filled divisive shout-fest’.
Prior to taking the role on at GB News Neil worked for 25 years at the BBC, edited the Sunday Times and founded Britain’s last successful TV start-up, Sky.