Ex-BBC boss says axing Gary Lineker was "mistaken"
Greg Dyke, the former director-general of the BBC, has criticized the broadcaster's decision to take Gary Lineker off the air.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme following Lineker's ousting, Dyke was asked whether the Match of the Day host's tweet was acceptable. “We live in a world of freedom of speech and therefore, yes," he answered. "He didn’t broadcast it on the BBC, it was a tweet he did privately."
Lineker was asked to step down from his role as host of the football highlights show after the corporation took issue with a tweet he published about migrant workers, and comparing the current government to that of Germany's in the 1930s. After he refused to make an apologetic statement on the show regarding his comments, the BBC made the decision to leave him off the show.
“This may be the end of Lineker as a BBC presenter”
Greg Dyke, ex-BBC Director-General, tells @amolrajan he thinks the BBC “has made a mistake” about Gary Lineker and it could have “a long-term effect on Match of the Day”
Full interview: https://t.co/Pq8jbnRFFo#R4Today pic.twitter.com/TzLMqN7q8p
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) March 11, 2023
The ex-BBC boss continued, “I think what the BBC did yesterday was mistaken. And I’ve over the years since I left the BBC never gone public criticising the leadership of the BBC and the decisions they take, because I know what a difficult job it is, and difficult decisions have to be taken.”
Following the announcement of Lineker's stepping away, the floodgates opened and multiple co-hosts and commentators refused to take part in the programme out of solidarity with the host. The BBC's decision well and truly backfired and the broadcaster is now reeling from the backlash.
I made a decision last night that even though I love doing football focus and we have had an incredible week winning an SJA award that it just doesn’t feel right going ahead with the show today. Hopefully I will be back in the chair next week…
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) March 11, 2023
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